August 1, 2008

Elida Board Gives Land Purchase OK

By Beth L. Jokinen, The Lima News, Ohio

Aug. 1--ELIDA -- The final site for the new Elida High School is the one school officials have wanted all along.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the school board approved paying $914,780 for 55 acres of land west of the middle school near Baxter and North streets.

Superintendent Don Diglia said the board looked at the land two years ago, but it was not available for sale. The district then moved on with plans to build on land purchased in 2001 behind the elementary school.

The new location is closer to the fieldhouse. With the previous site, students would have to be bused from the school to the fieldhouse, Diglia said. The two will now be about 100 yards from each other. Diglia added that it's important to keep the high school at the center of the village and community.

"The other location took the high school out of the center of the Elida community," he added.

The previous site would have cost $817,000, although additional parcels still needed to be purchased. Diglia said the new land is flatter and will save the district about $500,000 in excavating costs. The sewer tap-in fee will also be cheaper.

The property is currently owned by three entities. The price is higher than reported at a recent community meeting because the last section of land had not been agreed on yet. The third parcel, Diglia said, is needed for a main entrance.

The old property will be put up for auction. A date has not been determined.

Residents approved a bond issue in March to build the new high school. Construction is expected to begin next July and take 18 months. The change in location does not change the building's design, Diglia said.

The board also approved hiring former Delphos schools Superintendent Bruce Sommers as elementary principal, replacing retiring Sherry Heitmeyer.

Sommers spent 35 years in Delphos, first as an elementary teacher and principal, and the last 23 years as superintendent. He spent the past year as part-time director of the Allen County Alternative School program.

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