Big changes for the students and families of Edison Elementary, a United Way of Erie County community school, are soon to come as Erie's Public Schools prepares to construct a new Edison school building.
The current Edison building is more than 90 years old and has been in need of renovation for decades. As the amount of supports, resources and programming within the school has grown, especially once Edison was brought on by United Way as a community school in 2017, space has remained limited and insufficient.
“Currently at Edison, everything is a shared space,” said Tami Krzeszewski-Conway, Edison’s community school director. “The Community School Model has strengthened after-school enrichment opportunities, but the space we are currently using does not feel adequate to the activities. We also limit our indoor family engagements because the shared gym/cafeteria is our only space to hold events.”
In the new building, the gym and cafeteria will be separate facilities. A STEAM room will become the home of many after-school enrichment workshops, and the gym and new library will be able to accommodate many groups of different sizes. Small group coaching opportunities to help parents learn how to support their children in math and reading and more indoor family engagement events are just two opportunities that will be made possible by the new building.
Edison’s Community Closet, which provides students with items such as school supplies and clothing that students need throughout the day to be successful and engaged, is currently located in a trailer in the parking lot behind the building. It was a priority for the new school design to include an easily accessible space within the building for the Community Closet.
“Dedicating a space in the new building for the Community Closet truly speaks to the integration and importance of supports for Edison’s community,” said Tami.
The location of the school building will be shifted south of the existing building in order to be further removed from the main thoroughfare of East Lake Road, with the goal of improved student safety in mind.
“When Edison first became a community school in 2017, traffic and safety concerns around dismissal were the top priorities for families,” said Tami. “Over the years, we have implemented several changes to create safer dismissal procedures. Despite the changes, due to the location of the building on East Lake Road and Bacon Street being two ways, there is still congestion that can create a feeling of chaos. The new building will be designed with a hundred vehicle car loop, along with additional parking, that should take the traffic off Bacon Street and create a safer dismissal procedure.”
Construction on the new building is anticipated to start by the end of this year; current plans are to have the building finished and open for the 2025-2026 school year.