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Parma Schools try to ease tough transition with new district history museum

With 3 schools closing after next year, district works to preserve the past
Parma Schools try to ease tough transition with new district history museum
Posted at 10:54 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 23:14:49-04

PARMA, Ohio — The Parma City School District announced plans to create a new district history museum behind the soon-to-be taken down Parma Senior High School.

Parma Schools Museum Coordinator Nancy Fedak told News 5 it's just another way to preserve the past while helping to ease the growing pains it's facing with the closing of Parma Senior High School, Parma Park Elementary and Renwood Elementary after the 2022-2023 school year.

Fedak said museum will honor the legacy of all three of the district high schools and the Parma district enduring legacy as a whole.

“I think we all need to know where we came from so we know where we’re going," Fedak said. “As buildings would close they would start sending their memorabilia to the alumni association and it just was in a big heap. They’ve tossed around, 'how do we preserve Parma Senior High clock tower?'”

"Superintendent Charles Smialek is talking about a new heritage hall in the new high school, which include all three high schools, regular hall of fame and athletic hall of fame."

Fedak said the grand opening ribbon cutting for the new Parma Schools Museum is set to take place on Sept. 15.

The decision to close the high school and two elementary schools comes as the district is facing a $24 million deficit projected by 2026 and felt it best to tackle it through consolidation.

Superintendent Charles Smialek, who hosted a listening session with Parma district alumni on July 19 to get input on preserving district history, told News 5 the closing of three schools was necessary to accommodate planning and savings. Smialek estimated eliminating the three schools will cut about $3.15 million in annual operating costs.

“We'll try to make sure we’re going to honor the past as much as possible," Smialek said. “Folks have a lot of pride and a lot of memories, and so how do we honor that in this last year of operation for these three schools."

“We want to be as empathetic with folks that feel a connection as much as possible, and for the honor to celebrate the memories they have.”