Sale of former Highland Elementary School finalized

by Melissa Martin

Sept. 27 board of education meeting

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education announced Sept. 27 that the sale of the former Highland Drive Elementary School property had been finalized.

“The top bid we received was $1.1 million and the property sold for that amount,” said school board President Mark Dosen.

The property was sold to Triban Investment LLC, a developer based in Concord, Ohio, which plans to build 15 single-family homes on the 21-acre site. According to its portfolio, Triban has done four townhome developments in Greater Cleveland: Breakwater Bluffs in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood; The Avenue downtown; Mews at Rockport in Lakewood; and Southside 41 in Ohio City.

The board announced it had agreed to the sale in February, three months after the Brecksville electorate voted to rezone the property to an R-20 residential district. The amended zoning allows homes to be built on lots that are a minimum of 20,000 square feet.

The school property had been zoned C-F community facilities district, which among other uses allows schools, religious facilities, public playgrounds, parks, recreation areas, swimming pools, government buildings, libraries, museums, child daycare centers, cemeteries and hospitals. Under this zoning, residential homes are not permitted.

Dosen said the district received three bids for the property during the second round of bidding. Two bids were submitted by home development corporations and the third and lowest bid was submitted by the city of Brecksville.

The board voted unanimously to accept Triban’s bid, which Dosen said made “the most sense for the district.”

“This money will go into our permanent improvement fund,” Dosen said in February. “We have an endless list of needs for which we can use this money.”

The sale of Highland Elementary and the former Chippewa Elementary School were consummated because the new Brecksville-Broadview Heights Elementary School opened. The new school was built to consolidate the district’s three elementary schools, which along with Highland and Chippewa, included Hilton Elementary School.

Julie Billiart Schools purchased the former Chippewa Elementary for $1.3 million in September 2022. The property will become home to a new school for students with learning disabilities ranging from autism to anxiety and dyslexia.

The Brecksville campus of the Julie Billiart School will be open to students in kindergarten through fourth grade in the fall of 2024, while the second phase, which includes grades five through eight, will be open in the fall of 2025.

Funds from the sale of both properties have been deposited in the district’s permanent-improvement fund, administrators said. Those funds will be used for capital or permanent improvement upgrades.

Superintendent Jeffrey Harrison said the district will retain Hilton Elementary School for now, but a discussion will take place to decide whether to raze the building or repurpose it.

 Harrison reported premature cracking to the district’s tennis courts, which were recently repaved. The board indicated that $50,000 of the final payment will be withheld until the issue is resolved and the project is finalized.

“We know that the [problem] area will continue to grow in size along with the scope of repair,” he said. “However, that repair will likely be delayed until the summer of 2024.’’

The board reported that renovations to the BBH Middle School auditorium are still underway, resulting in the relocation of the district’s Oct. 4 candidate night to the high school. Harrison told the board seating has been installed, however, the flooring and runways are not finished.

“It really is going to be a beautiful facility when it is completed,” he said. ∞