Ravenna gets glimpse of the future

By Jennifer L. Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Superintendent Philip Warner said it is important for community members to view the drawings and provide input before final decisions are made. Three sets of plans for the 88-acre property south of Robinson Memorial Hospital were revealed at Ravenna on Display, a community showcase held this weekend at Ravenna High School.

The estimated $2 million project would include tennis courts, a cross country course and several ball fields in the first phase to be completed by this fall, Warner said.

The second phase would include an eight-lane, all-weather track, a football field and a soccer field to be completed by fall of 1999, he said.

Warner said the construction of a new high school on the site, the third phase of the project estimated to cost more than $25 million, would require the passage of a bond issue.

Visitors to the display by L.D.G.C. Architects were invited to fill out questionnaires requesting suggestions and level of interest.

Ralph Goodenberger, the architecture firm's vice president of design, said the response to the exhibit was positive.

"Everyone seems to be interested," Goodenberger said. "We have done three different studies to visualize how the school board ultimately wants things to be. They are hoping to get enough response to make final decisions."

The drawings have slight variations with different strengths and weaknesses, Goodenberger said.

Warner said the differences include the number of ball fields and the shape of the proposed high school.

Detailed drawings of the high school will not be developed unless a bond issue is successful, Warner said.

School board member Joanne Newhauser said the drawings have significant aesthetic value.

"As a school board member, a resident and former art teacher, I'm very excited about the project," Newhauser said. "These drawings show that school facilities don't have to be box-like and stark. The project will provide beauty and naturalism for many years."

The school district purchased the land about 25 years ago, but a bond issue to construct a new high school failed in the mid 1970s.

Warner said he encourages community members to attend an input meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Ravenna High School gym to discuss the concepts displayed in the drawings.

"The development of the Chestnut Street site will be looked upon as a defining moment in the history of the school district and the community," Warner said. "It is absolutely vital that as major decisions are made staff and community have input into the development of this site."

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