NORTH ROYALTON – Every day, students head to school to learn reading, writing and history, but it’s not every day they get to have a hand in writing the history of their school.

But, on Aug. 30, close to 60 students from the three elementary schools were bused to the site of the future North Royalton Elementary School to make history by grabbing a shovel and breaking ground for the new building at 16400 State Road.

As Superintendent Greg Gurka surveyed the expanse of the site, which is now just a giant dirt field, he said it’s hard to believe that in exactly two years, many of these students will gather here once again to enter the building.

“Today is Aug. 30, 2019. It is hard to imagine that in exactly two years from today, Aug. 30, 2021, students will enter the doors of North Royalton Elementary School for the first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year. A lot will happen between now and then and a lot of changes will take place,” Gurka said. “Our world here in North Royalton and Broadview Heights is changing, and it is changing for the better because of the great communities, citizens, students, parents and staff of the North Royalton City Schools.”

Students agree school will finally be cool, literally.

“Valley Vista is fun, we do an obstacle course and field day. But sometimes if gets hot and we get popsicles, but our new school will be way cooler. I’ll get to see my soccer and baseball friends now from Albion and Royal View, everyone will be together. Thank you for all your hard work to get us a new school, I hope we’ll still get popsicles,” said second-grader Nathan Olman.

Third-grader Leah Gibson is a Royal View student and though she won’t ever attend the new school she said it was important for her to be at the groundbreaking because of her little sister Molly who is currently a Kindergartener. Molly has spinal muscular atrophy, which causes muscle weakness, so the new building will afford her more opportunities and resources.

“She will enjoy learning from all her new friends. I look forward to visiting her at the new building and seeing what a great experience she is having. I am very excited for my little sister,” she said.

It was evident school officials were grateful, too.

Royal View Elementary Principal Kirk Pavelich said that though it is a historic day for the schools, there is another day he will never forget.

“A day like today wouldn’t have been possible without a historical day from the past. We will always remember May 2, 2017, when nearly 60 percent of the residents of this great community made a choice at the ballot box to invest in future generations of students,” he said. “…The reality and the vision of that investment starts today.”

“For a long time in North Royalton, our teachers, especially at the elementary level, have been asked to educate children in spite of the limitations of their facilities. Outdated spaces, ancient heating and cooling systems and lack of available electrical power and technology were the norm. Those days are coming to an end,” added School Board President Dr. John Kelly.

He thanked the architects from ThenDesign Architecture, or TDA, as well as Hammond Construction, the project manager for both the elementary and high school projects.

“These are the people who took our ideas and put them into drawings and designs...,” Kelly said. “We are very confident this will be a great school when it is all finished.”

Bill Schurman, owner of Hammond, presented Gurka with an honorary shovel to remember the day by. He said the community and schools came up with a great vision and Hammond is honored to make that vision a reality.

“Now it’s up to us to build this thing, and up to you to help,” Schurman told the students, who were then invited up to break ground for their new school.

For updates on the progress of the projects, visit