Groundbreaking held for Fairport Harbor's new school building

·2 min read

May 26—Fairport Harbor residents gathered May 26 to witness the groundbreaking for a new school set to replace Harding Middle and High School at 329 Vine St.

Around 200 people were able come together to witness the ceremony for the new $50.4 million pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school. The building, replacing the 100-year-old Harding High School, will be constructed by C.T. Taylor with construction beginning in late summer.

The bulk of funding for the new school was from Ohio's Facilities Construction Commission which provided $46.9 million. Further funding is coming from the $5 million bond approved by Fairport Harbor voters in November.

State Rep. Daniel Troy, whose District 23 included Fairport Harbor until the last redistricting, indicated support for the way Fairport Harbor voters were able to secure the funding for the new school.

"You have so many school districts that don't have the tax base to secure a new facility," he said. "There were some districts, like Riverside that may have gotten 15 percent or something like that from that state, but Fairport got 93 percent."

Mayor Timothy Manross expressed his happiness with the funding deal with the state.

"We have spent 10 years on this," he said. "I remember the initial conversations, I think the funding at that time was 70/30 but never in my wildest dreams did I believe that we would get to 93% state funded and 7% village funded for a new facility.

"Just to put that in perspective for you folks, that's the cost of replacing the windows in our current buildings. That is what we are going to pay to have a new facility.

"I would be remiss if we just kept thanking all the dignitaries here," Manross said." It's folks in front of us that we are talking to. It's the parents, it's the teachers, the administrators of this school, this is what the community came together to support — to set the next 100 years this village."

The groundbreaking might have been the ceremonial first step, but the next few steps might leave residents wondering why the old school is still up as construction will mostly be taken place underground starting July 10 with the demolition of the old school by summer 2025.

The plan relies on constructing the new building on the site of the current schools' parking lots and fields, west of the current building. After the fields and lots are stripped and cleared, then construction can begin on the above ground portion.

Once the new building is completed, the over 100-year-old Harding Middle and High School will be demolished, with the parking lots serving the new building being placed there, according to John Hitchcock, president of C.T. Taylor Construction.