An enlightening education


Carole Hoff organizes books in her third-grade classroom. In the new school, each classroom has five computers, including one for the teacher, and is equipped with a sound system so instructors can use lapel microphones.


Steve Pall with Nomad Group checks the Lutron lighting system at the new South Range K-12 complex on state Route 46. The lights will be brighter near the wall and dimmer near the windows to better use natural light from windows.


By Ashley Luthern


A new school has technology almost as smart as the students it will house.

The $38 million South Range school complex will serve all of the district’s 1,340 students, from kindergarden to 12th grade. It replaces the combined high school-elementary school in North Lima and the middle school in Greenford.

The school sprawls on a plot of land off state Route 46, about four miles south of the Canfield Fairgrounds.

When students arrive Sept. 8 for their first day, each classroom will be equipped with five computers — including one for the teacher — SMART boards, an interactive-teaching tool that connects to a computer; and daylight harvesting technology, said Superintendent Dennis Dunham.

“With electricity usage, the school will save money over the long haul,” said Steve Palla with Nomad Group of Texas. The Lutron Lighting system should pay for itself in 10 years.

Palla explained that the larger classrooms have two windows to allow natural light in, and as the ceiling light fixtures get farther from the window, the light becomes brighter. If someone forgets to turn out the light, a motion sensor will automatically turn it off after a certain amount of time.

The school is divided into three color-coded wings, for elementary, middle and high school students, each with its own gymnasium, Dunham said.

The project was funded with $20 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and an $18 million bond issue approved by voters in 2007.

“We’re well below budget,” Dunham said.

The bond issue also included money for demolition of the two older buildings, but the district is trying to sell them, he said.

The elementary-high school complex on South Avenue is still for sale, and a second auction is planned for later this year. It would cost about $300,000 to demolish it. The middle school sold to Edward Schaefer for $100,000 last year, but the district can use it until September 2011, Dunham said.

School board offices will remain in North Lima.

About 110 workers are at the site daily to ensure the building will be ready for the first day of school that’s less than three weeks away.

“A lot of areas are close, but not 100 percent,” Dunham said Thursday. The auditorium will not be ready until Oct. 1.

The complex will have an open house today at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., for elementary, middle and high school students, respectively.

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