Bonnell presented representatives from the Balog Steiner Hendricks and Machester Architects Inc. (BSHM) and R.P Carbone contractors with a plaque showing the board’s gratitude.
After the half-hour presentation, community members were allowed to walk around to view all that the new North had to offer.
A 20-minute video, filmed by by teacher Jason Croxall, of the renovation and work completed throughout the construction was shown in each classroom.
Favorite rooms among the guests included the music room, library and art room.
Wendy Sternagle has been teaching art in the West Gate building for 21 years.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Sternagle said about the new facility. “We’ll finally be able to paint and (make) pottery.”
Sternagle said the spacious art room offers plenty of light access and storage for crafts.
“At West Gate we had to share a room with (other teachers),” she said. “I could see glue stuck on the floor. It was a mess.
“Now I’m looking forward to using the kiln,” Sternagle added.
Ruthie Kidder’s son, Dylan, is attending third grade at the new school, and she said she loves it.
“This is amazing for us,” she said. “It’s awesome.”
Kidder spoke a little about the old building and how much was lacking for the children’s learning environment.
“(The old school) didn’t have floors,” Kidder said. “You can only do so much at home.”
Ron and Amanda Bombick send their sons to the school.
“This is a big overhaul,” Amanda said.
“(The boys) love the gym,” Ron said. “It’s the first thing they wanted to show me.”
Amanda said the new facility is nice since the gym and cafeteria are separated now. She also appreciated the technology offered as well as security.
“It’s a computer world,” she said.
Custodian Brenda Nordine said the new floors, as well as the entire building, will be much easier to care for than the building before renovation took place.
“I love it,” Nordine said.
Other residents said the new North is the facility they have been waiting for.
“They should (have) had this all along,” Robert Boso, a grandfather of a seven-year old student, said.
The self-guided tour was open from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. and allowed for hundreds of curious residents to crowd the halls and classrooms of the $10 million renovation project.
Mayor Jim Swogger was present along with county commissioners Jim Hoppel and Dan Bing. State Rep. Linda Bolon and Sen. Jason Wilson, along with school superintendent Ken Halbert offered speeches.
Bolon and Wilson both stressed the importance of education and furthering the use of technology in the classroom.
“Failure is not an option,” Wilson said. “When we think of change we must remember to (look to the school districts).
“Leadership starts at the teacher, administration and staff level,” he said.
Bolon said she would be watching the development of the school district very closely in the next stages of the $43.6 million Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) project.
“We do not intend to fail here in Columbiana County,” Bolon said reiterating Wilson’s speech to the crowd.
“It’s a good time to be an East Liverpool Potter,” Halbert said. “For over six years I’ve been here and have never been a part of something like this.”
Bonnell said the project was a long time in the making, with two more schools to be renovated.
“(The treasurer and the board) filled out over 1,000 documents for this building,” Bonnell said.
Bonnell said the school spent $150,000 out of pocket on the 24 parking spaces in front of the building.
Chris Heasley, R.P Carbone project manager, said he looks forward to starting work on the high school building.
Bonnell said Scott Sheppard with A&I Studio would start renovating the LaCroft building within the next 30 days.
“It was a long rough road to get where we’re at,” Heasley said. “As you walk around the building I hope it’s worth it.”
Morning Journal-Erin Colella
Parents and residents crowded the halls with interest during the open house at the new North Elementary building Saturday.