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Girard school board to meet architects on planned center

GIRARD — School officials will meet before Thanksgiving with architects to begin making additions or changes to plans for a proposed performing arts center by the high school, off Shannon Road.

Officials have said the coronavirus pandemic placed the project on hold last year, but there are plans to continue and possibly break ground in spring 2022.

Board President Mark Zuppo told the board of education this week there are plans to meet with Axiom Architects LLC of Youngstown about the project.

“We need to make some changes to our plan. Maybe make it bigger in some ways, but it will all depend on the costs. Construction costs now are a concern so we will have to see what we can afford,” he said.

Superintendent Bryan O’Hara said many companies are trying to get projects lined up and some companies are backed up with projects that were delayed by the pandemic.

“We will have to see what we need for the center and what the costs will be,” he said.

Officials have said the pandemic also resulted in reduced state funding for the project.

Plans are for a 1,000-seat performing arts auditorium to host school programs and graduations.

The auditorium will be constructed on the west side of the high school. The board previously hired Axiom at $600,000 for the design and planning.

The school’s cafetorium, which has a stage, is limited on seating for events, so graduations and other functions have been moved to the gymnasium.

In other business, the board approved creating an English Learner Support personnel position and hired Adriana Bishara on an as-needed basis at $17.50 per hour for up to eight hours per day.

O’Hara said some students in the district do not speak English but may speak Spanish or another language. Many of the children needing assistance are at the elementary grade levels.

“We want to help the students one-on-one with any language barriers,” he said.

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