Boardman school comes crashing down
BOARDMAN — Lucas Beggs laments seeing the dramatic end to a school that was part of his young life, but his sights also are set on what lies beyond the fallen bricks, glass and mortar.
“I had a lot of fun times at Market Street Elementary School,” Lucas, 14, a Boardman Glenwood Junior High School eighth-grader, said. “I’m kind of sad to see my old school getting destroyed, but I’m happy that we’re going to turn this building into something to teach new students.”
Lucas was among the students, township officials and others who witnessed the beginning of Market Street Elementary’s demolition Monday to make room for the expansive 14.6-acre Forest Lawn Stormwater Park that will be constructed on the site. The project promises to reduce flooding in parts of the township.
Lucas attended Market Street Elementary, which opened in 1950 and closed in 2019, for kindergarten, first grade and part of second grade. The teen also used to live on nearby Arlene Avenue and recalled occasions in which his basement had flooded, he said.
Lucas added he has an interest in the biological sciences and hopes one day to conduct research into developing new drugs to tackle viruses that lead to illnesses. Recently, he was among 12 students who attended an annual stormwater conference in Sandusky, he continued.
Handling the demolition, which could take a week or two, is Poland-based Moderalli Excavating Inc.
Scott Lenhart, a Glenwood Junior High eighth-grade science teacher, noted that his students will collaborate with township Administrator Jason R. Loree on part of the project’s design phase.
When an education center and laboratory are built on the front of the property, the students will continue conducting tests to determine water quality. Such tests will include ascertaining the samples’ pH balance, acidity, oxygen levels and number of macroinvertebrates. The latter can be used to measure pollutants in a body of water, Lenhart explained.
In addition, future students will be able to use the site for those and other educational purposes, he continued.
Such efforts also fit into nine watershed initiatives that will be key components of the project. They include a planning process to identify problem areas in and solutions for the Cranberry Run Watershed, slowing water flow via a floodplain to allow sediment to settle and decrease erosion, and community outreach efforts.
“This is something we should all be proud of; this is a project that needs to happen,” Trustee Thomas P. Costello said. “When it’s done, it will resemble a park.”
He noted that a detention pond behind where the school sat will be able to hold and release up to 1 million gallons of water, which will alleviate flooding to between 1,200 and 1,400 homes.
In his remarks during a ceremony before the demolition began, Costello also praised the collaboration between the Boardman Local School District, township officials and the ABC Water and Stormwater District.
Loree explained that after the demolition, site work will get underway, then the engineering work and bidding process will begin perhaps in the fall. He also praised county commissioners for securing about $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Other funding sources were $500,000 from a state capital grant, $300,000 for design and engineering work via Gov. Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative and more than $2.1 million from a Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant.
John Landers, board of education president, said that the demise of Market Street Elementary is sad, but added he’s happy students will continue to use the site for educational pursuits.
“There’s no doubt the spirit of the school will live on,” Landers said.
The project, which also will feature a wetlands area, will be a boon to a community that has dealt with chronic flooding problems for about 75 years, said state Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield.
The ceremony also included a groundbreaking in which elected officials, teachers and Boardman Glenwood High students participated.
Vickie Davis, a school board member who’s also part of the Boardman Alumni Association, noted that 100 bricks will be saved from the demolition for up to 100 alums who wish to keep a piece of their school’s history. Pickup and shipping will be available soon, though no dates were given.
To reserve a brick, call Davis at 330-540-8204, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.