Sol Harris Day Architecture

North Canton City Schools began their journey with a district-wide facilities review to establish a master plan for their future. With the goal of creating educational environments that “ignite a passion for learning,” phase one of the master plan determined construction of two new elementary schools to house the Primary and Intermediate students. The new Primary building consolidates the early childhood center (pre-kindergarten), kindergarten, first, and second grade levels from three of the District’s aging elementary buildings. This new school is designed to be adaptable to changing needs for different types of learning and collaboration. It is intended to meet the needs of all students, including those in the “middle,” while supporting multi-age learning.


  • Pre-Bond Services
  • Master Planning
  • Facility Assessments
  • Space Utilization
  • Site Selection
  • Visioning
  • Estimating/Scheduling
  • Sustainable Design
  • Branding
  • Visualizations and Graphics
  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • FF&E

Site Orientation

The new Primary was constructed on the same site as the existing Mary L. Evans Early Childhood Center, which was taken down as part of this project.  With the existing structure located on the southeast portion of the site, the remainder of the site was general field space, playgrounds, and a large parking lot.  After numerous locations were studied, the building was ultimately positioned along Charlotte Street in the Northeast corner for various reasons and benefits noted below:

  • Adjacency to similar height/scale buildings that are located along North Canton’s Main Street. The exterior building design intends to complement these buildings, such as the old Hoover facility and the YMCA that are well known in the community.
  • The gable roof form on the west side of the building helps transition from the residential zone to the public/commercial zone to the east.  The staff and visitor parking lot offers an additional buffer between the school and residential zone.
  • This location allows for a more linear east-west orientation for the academic areas to maximize natural daylighting to those spaces.
  • This location separates the staff and parent drop-off traffic from the bus traffic ensuring student safety by keeping students from crossing vehicular circulation and spreads out morning and afternoon traffic on the perimeter streets.
  • The playgrounds and outdoor learning areas are more internalized on the site away from public streets at the perimeter.
  • The expansive views from the main entry/reception area create additional security by allowing any visitors on-site to be seen prior to entering the building.
  • The bus parking lot can serve as a multi-use area: during the evenings, weekends, and summer, it will serve as public parking for the adjacent city businesses and civic buildings such as the North Canton Public Library; and during the school days, it serves as a hard surface playground complete with 4-square, movement paths and basketball courts.

Building Organization

The overall building organization breaks down each grade level into smaller teams of four to six classrooms. Each team centers around an Extended Learning Area. The Extended Learning Area is intended to be a flexible space that facilities both “focused” and “active” learning while also providing general circulation to each classroom. Within each team there is also a large group room with direct access to do two adjacent classrooms for use by intervention specialists or as additional breakout space. Similarly,  each team also has a small group room to be utilized by reading specialists or for more “focused” learning needs. Kindergarten and first grade are nearly identical layouts with first grade stacked on top of kindergarten to provide the potential for multi-age learning. Staff work areas for copier and supply access are available within each grade level in addition to a shared staff eating and planning room on each floor level to facilitate cross-grade collaboration. Spaces like the Media Center, Art, Music, Gym and Dining are all centrally located for easier and controlled access from the grade levels. The two-story dining space penetrates into the middle of the building, allowing for natural light to filter further into the internal rooms and spaces.

The site naturally slopes from the east to the west, so in order to help minimize the costs associated with hauling dirt and to reduce the overall construction carbon footprint, the ground level (first floor) was designed with three different finish floor elevations that are connected via ramps to accommodate the slope.

Interior Concept

Two goals became apparent during the school and community visioning sessions: the new elementary should foster differentiated and personalized learning and the built environment should be light and playful. With those two goals in mind, the interior inspiration is derived from the light-hearted nature of playing with soap bubbles. Each of us exist in our own bubble, composed of a unique set of traits. We are constantly on the move, growing, discovering, and learning independently. When a group of singular bubbles come together, our boundaries converge. What once was an individual journey becomes a shared experience. We start to grow, discover, and learn from each other as a community. The elementary is meant to foster learning through environments catering toward the individual needs, as well as the collaborative needs of the community. Circular motifs and pops of color are used to keep the space feeling light and playful.

Sustainable Features

Sustainability is integrated throughout the new Primary building, with the goal of achieving LEED v.4.0 Silver Certification.  Features include:

  • Efficient HVAC design throughout.
  • Increased insulation thermal-resistance values for the exterior walls and roof to achieve a more efficient envelope, thereby reducing internal loads.
  • High efficiency plumbing fixtures, designed to reduce building potable water consumption by 20% to 25%. This would include toilets, urinals, and lavatories.
  • High-efficiency service (domestic) water heaters.
  • Reduction of internal loads by using high-efficiency lighting fixtures with LED technology.
  • Utilization of glazing systems with increased thermal resistance.
  • Automatic lighting controls in classrooms with occupancy sensors.


  • Kicked off the project by leading an Education Visioning Conference with the community and school staff to brainstorm how education could be delivered to help shape the design of the new building
  • Designed to focus on “differentiated instruction” and “personalized learning,” the two top ranked educational delivery models determined from the visioning sessions
  • Designed to complement its context of North Canton’s Main Street Hoover District, blending traditional features with modern aesthetics
  • Located in the downtown Hoover District, this school has developed community partnership for shared use
  • Built on an already occupied site with one of the existing school buildings
  • Designed within the required square footage and budget while facing rising costs due to the pandemic and supply chain issues
  • Designed with outdoor learning spaces
  • Natural light and views to the outside were integrated throughout the design
  • LEED Version 4.0 - Silver Certification goal

Meet the Team

  • Domenic Ferrante
  • Burt Marzley
  • Jeff Hardy
  • Lee King
  • Regina Erdman
  • Jordan Lewis
  • Carolina Silva
  • Julie Ziga
  • William Duncan

Share This


Alliance City SchoolsAshland County-West Holmes Career CenterCanton City SchoolsCarrollton Exempted Village SchoolsCentral Catholic High SchoolChippewa Local SchoolsCrestwood Local SchoolsCuyahoga Valley Christian AcademyThe Golden Key for Exceptional ChildrenGreen Local Schools (Green, Ohio)Green Local Schools (Smithville, Ohio)Indian Creek Local SchoolsJackson Local SchoolsLake Local SchoolsMarlington Local SchoolsMassillon City SchoolsNordonia Hills City School DistrictNorth Canton City SchoolsNorthwest Local SchoolsOsnaburg Local SchoolsPerry Local SchoolsRG Drage Career Technical CenterRootstown Local SchoolsSandy Valley Local SchoolsSolon City SchoolsSt. Michael SchoolStark County Board of Developmental DisabilitiesStrasburg-Franklin Local SchoolsTallmadge City SchoolsTriway Local SchoolsWayne County Schools

Higher Education

Ashland UniversityBelmont CollegeBethany CollegeBluffton UniversityThe College of WoosterGrove City CollegeIndiana Wesleyan UniversityKent State UniversityKenyon CollegeMalone UniversityMount Vernon Nazarene UniversityNorth Central State CollegeStark State CollegeThe Ohio State UniversityUniversity of AkronUniversity of Mount UnionWalsh UniversityWashington State Community College


3D Business AcceleratorAdvanced Storage SystemsAirtex ProductsAkron-Canton AirportAkron Community FoundationASC IndustriesArtsinStarkBekaertBridgestone AmericasCampbell Oil CompanyCarroll County TransitCutler RealtorsDiebold NixdorfDix CommunicationsEnvironmental Design GroupFedex Custom CriticalFirst MeritGE CapitalGreat Lakes ConstructionIn The RoundKiko Auctioneers and RealtorsLean DogLG FuelNational Inventors Hall of FameNickles BakeryPegasus FarmPenske TruckPro Car Automotive GroupProgressive InsuranceS.D. Myers IndustriesSecuritas Electronic SecurityStark Community FoundationSummit County Department of Job & Family ServicesSterling JewelersStruktol Company of AmericaTaylor BankThe Timken CompanyStark County CommissionersTomTod Ideas Inc.United Glass and Panel SystemsUnited Way of Greater Stark CountyThe Vasco GroupYoung Truck


Alliance Country ClubAlliance Family YMCAAshland County ParksBoy Scouts of AmericaBrookside Country ClubBucyrus Area YMCACambridge YMCACampCarl.lifeCongress Lake Country ClubEric Snow YMCA (Downtown Canton)Ernie's Bicycle ShopFirestone Country ClubGeauga Park DistrictGirl Scouts of North East OhioGlenmoor Country ClubLakota YMCALouisville YMCAMassillon Boys & Girls ClubMinerva YMCAMount Vernon YMCAMurfreesboro Tennis ComplexMuskingum Watershed Conservancy DistrictNorth Canton YMCAParamount Tennis ClubPaul & Carol David YMCA (Jackson)Pegasus FarmShady Hallow Country ClubSilver Lake Country ClubStark ParksStark County Wilderness CenterTiffin Community YMCATuscarawus County YMCAWestbrook Country ClubYMCA of Central Stark County


A.H. Wilson BuildingAlmost Heaven Homemade Ice CreamAmerican Development CompanyAmerimar Enterprises, Inc.Aultman FoundationAultman HospitalBair's PowersportsBAM Healthy CuisineBenders TavernBoggs ChiropracticBolivar Volunteer Fire DepartmentBrewster Fire DepartmentCanton Baptist TempleCanton Palace TheatreCanton TownshipCanton Township FireCapstone Real Estate InvestmentsCarroll County District LibraryChapel Hill Retirement CommunityThe Chapel in AkronChrist Community Chapel in HudsonCity of CantonCity of WoosterCoshocton Port AuthorityDeVille DevelopmentsDeHoff DevelopmentDowntown FordFirst Friends ChurchGastroenterology SpecialistsGoddard SchoolsGrace United Methodist ChurchGreentown United Methodist ChurchHampton InnHeartland Behavior HealthHoly Trinity Greek Orthodox ChurchHoover HouseJackson TownshipLake TownshipThe Lenzy Family InstituteLeopard Town TwirlersLiberty Development CompanyLions Lincoln TheatreLimbauch BuildingsLouisville Public LibraryMassillon Fire DepartmentMassillon Heritage FoundationMassillon MuseumMassillon Public LibraryMeniru Medical OfficesMinerva Champer of CommerceMissionView ChurchNational First Ladies LibraryPerry Township Police DepartmentPetitti Garden CenterThe Pickwick PlaceThe Pines Lakeside TherapyPlain TownshipPlain Township Fire DepartmentPro Football Hall of FameProgressive ChryslerQuonset HutRose Lane Nursing & RehabilitationSARTAScriptShop PharmacySeville-Guilford Township Fire and EMSShady Lawn Nursing & RehabilitationSmithville Fire DepartmentSpring Hill Historic HomeStark County Department of Job & Family ServicesStark County District LibrarySt. Edward HotelSt. Lukes Lutheran HomeSt. Mary's Catholic ChurchSt. Michael the Archangel ParishSt. Michael Lutheran ChurchSt. Stephens Lutheran Martyr ChurchTraditions at Bath Road Nursing HomeTrillium Family SolutionsUnion HospitalWooly Pig Farm BreweryWooster Community Hospital

Photo Gallery

1 of 22