VIDEO: Construction Begins On New Southwest Local Schools

The three new elementary schools and new junior school are expected to be ready for classes in 2021.

(Harrison, Oh.) – Students who will be the first to walk the highways helped to turn the first shovels of dirt on construction of four new schools Friday.

Southwest Local Schools, City of Harrison, and various township officials were joined by hundreds of students in marking the start of construction on three new elementary schools and a new Harrison Junior School.

The ceremonial groundbreaking at the future junior school and Central Elementary site took place on a hot August afternoon, something students normally dread because their current school has no air conditioning.

“You’ll have to go through just one more fall without air conditioning,” said Southwest Local Schools Superintendent John Hamstra stated through a loud round of applause.

The new schools, which also include a new Crosby Elementary and Harrison Elementary, are set to open in August of 2021.

The price tag of the project is around $72 million, with the State of Ohio providing about $26.6 million. It is being funded by a school levy and bond issue passed by voters in the school district in November 2017 – 153 more votes were in favor out of 7,100 votes total in that close election. Larger requests failed at the ballot box in 2015 and 2016.

“There are many who doubted this day would ever happen,” said Hamstra. “Thank you for believing in our schools and our future and for putting actions behind your words.”

Harrison Mayor Bill Neyer noted the population growth in the city and surrounding area. He said that growth would never happen without great schools.

“Twenty-five years ago I relocated to Harrison because of the school district. That was one of the primary things I looked for,” said Neyer.

“My three children were students here. Everyone left with the tools they needed to succeed at the next level, whatever level they chose, and that’s only because we have great staff, great administration, and now we’re going to have great tools.”

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