End of an era at OHS: Groundbreaking for new elementary school planned for homecoming

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Erik Andrews | Oberlin News-Tribune
The Oberlin High School marching band performs during halftime at a Phoenix football game earlier this season. On Friday, the band will perform is annual light show after the game.

JASON HAWK
EDITOR

True, there won’t be an Oberlin High School homecoming parade this year — but just wait until you hear what’s lined up instead.

A huge celebration is planned for tomorrow to mark the groundbreaking of Oberlin’s new elementary school, say farewell to the old stadium on North Pleasant Street, honor the homecoming court, and cheer on the Phoenix varsity football team.

The Friday festivities will kick off at 4 p.m. when golden shovels are used to symbolically begin construction of a PK-5 building just south of OHS.

Superintendent David Hall said he’s lined up guest speakers for the ceremony and has invited political dignitaries to attend.

Kids will be part of the fun, donning hard hats and hoisting shovels to break ground for their school, said OHS principal Chris Frank.

A community tailgating party will begin at 5 p.m. on the high school’s south lawn.

It will feature food trucks from The Feve and Steel Magnolia and music by DJ Dolla Bill — that’s the alter ego of police officer Billie Neadham, who is assigned to the school district.

Welcome Nursing Home will do blood pressure checks, The LCADA Way will have information, and there will be booths for Oberlin Kids, band and athletic boosters, the Oberlin Rotary, and more. Firefighters will set up a truck and obstacle course for kids to run.

The party will start wrapping up around 6:30 p.m. as attention turns to the stadium. The homecoming court will circle the track in convertible cars and the king and queen will be crowned there one last time.

The homecoming game will start at 7 p.m. as the Phoenix host the Brookside Cardinals.

At halftime, alumni will be invited onto the field to be recognized. The band won’t play until after the game; musicians will present their annual light show after dark falls.

“The light show performance is definitely a highlight of our season,” said band director Len Gnizak. “We always appreciate the support we receive from our families and members of the community who come out to cheer on our football team and support our 67 student musicians who spend countless hours practicing for their performances.”

“This is going to be truly a one-time event because it will be the last time we’re all on that field. It will be our last homecoming here at Oberlin High School Stadium,” said Frank.

The football game won’t be the final time fans can say goodbye to the old stadium.

The Phoenix girls will play one last soccer game there at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 and the boys varsity soccer team will give it a proper farewell at 1 p.m. that day.