AKRON, Ohio — Akron Public Schools students who live in the communities of the former Garfield and Kenmore High Schools will start school Aug. 29 in a brand new building.
The 260,000 square foot Garfield Community Learning Center is located on the 10-acre site of the former Garfield High School in the Firestone Park neighborhood of Akron at 435 N. Firestone Blvd. The new high school will serve a larger footprint than any other Akron Public Schools neighborhood school, according to Director of Marketing Communications Mark Williamson. It combines the old Kenmore High School (in Southwest Akron) with Garfield’s current enrollment (of Firestone Park/South Akron).
Canton-based Hammond Construction managed the $57 million project.
Like other Akron Public Schools Community Learning Centers, the building will operate as a school during regular school hours and a community center after school, on weekends, and during the summer, maximizing the value for taxpayers while providing opportunities for community members.
Community center offerings include recreation, adult education, after-school and summer programs, and a variety of community activities. To date, the district has rebuilt, remodeled or restored 32 buildings through the Community Learning Center program, which uses a combination of state (59%) and local funds (voters approved a 0.25 % of city income tax in 2003), according to Williamson. .
About 900 students will attend the school, which will house the FirstEnergy Academy of Emerging Technology and Design. The First Energy Academy will offer courses in advanced manufacturing, business management, and energy and environmental protection. The school’s Acme Fresh Market Academy of Innovation and Industry will offer courses in construction and building technology, culinary arts, nursing and patient care.
Garfield Community Learning Center has a sister college agreement with Stark State College. The agreement means Stark State is providing support and resources for Akron public school students as they consider college and career options. Stark State also works with Garfield teachers to create career-themed course content, problem-based learning opportunities, workshops, and assistance with the college admissions process.
The district will display several terracotta artifacts from the original Garfield High School in the new building, Williamson said.
The school will also provide a 75-yard football and soccer practice area at the corner of Archwood Avenue and Beardsley Street, according to Williamson.
The Akron Public Schools Board unanimously decided on the school’s name in May after six months of discussions. Other nominees included the Kenmore-Garfield Community Learning Center and the South Community Learning Center.
In 2017-18, the district merged Kenmore and Garfield schools into the Kenmore building at 2140 13th St. SW due to declining enrollment. APS currently has no plans to use the Kenmore building, according to the district.
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