The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 18, 2013

Spire keeps relationship with Geneva

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP —  The dissolution of contracts regarding land use agreements between the Geneva Board of Education and Spire Institute was necessary as administrators of the sports complex “retool” some plans, Spire chief operating officer Jeff Orloff said Thursday.

According to the new agreements, Spire will no longer lease Memorial Field from the district and will no longer require the use of Geneva High School’s classrooms or the development of its surrounding land for athletic use, the board of education voted Wednesday night.

“As we grow, things may change,” Orloff said. “As we looked at our needs, we realized that the direction we were going was unfortunately not going to work for us as it was originally planned. It wasn’t for lack of trying nor for lack of effort. We will do everything in our power to support the district, but there was no way to make it work as we had originally planned, unfortunately.”

The Geneva Eagles will continue to call Spire home for track, soccer and football, as the board of education also penned an agreement to extend the existing contract at the sports complex at near identical terms for another five years.

The district gets use of the sports complex for $20,000 per year, minus the lease on Memorial Field, which will cost the district about $20,000 per year to maintain.

The need for the now-terminated contracts stemmed from Spire’s partnership with the Andrews Osborne Academy —  a college preparatory, co-educational day and boarding school based in Willoughby.

The combined program offers sports training at the state-of-the-art athletic center in Harpersfield Township and the Andrews Osborne Academy’s high school curriculum. Spire also offers a post-graduate sports training academy.

Orloff said Spire has enrolled 11 students in the high school program at Andrews Osborne and hosts 27 post-graduates from seven countries and 22 states.

“Our program is strong and growing,” he said.

Orloff said Spire administrators are “methodically” working toward finishing construction projects and have big plans for the future.

“We are moving forward,” he said. “We are heading in a different direction, but in all ways we are looking at the long term impact and economic growth for the city and the school district. We are headed in the direction to do all those things.”

Orloff said while he is sorry to drop the land leases and use contracts with the school district, he feels the partnership between the sports complex and the schools is as strong as ever.

“What’s good for Spire is good for the district and what is good for district is good for Spire,” he said. “Spire enjoys a great working relationship with the schools. We feel like we really are very significantly part of a huge economic impact locally and within the region.”