Summa Health ending Nordonia Hills Schools sponsorship

MACEDONIA, Ohio - Summa Health is ending a sponsorship agreement with the Nordonia Hills City Schools that granted it naming rights and signage at school facilities, including its high school athletic complex.

Nordonia Hills Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark said the decision comes three years into a nine-year, $495,000 contract, at a point when it allowed either party to withdraw.

Clark said the district will now lose the remaining total of $330,000, which would have been used to renovate an auditorium, replace turf on the football field and upgrade school security and safety.

He said the district will likely place a levy on the ballot this year.

"It was going to solve a lot of our financial problems or allow us to be able to take care of some things we generally needed done," Clark said. "We just won't be able to do those things until we find another source of revenue."

A spokesperson for Summa Health provided a statement saying the health system decided to exercise an opt out clause agreed to by both parties, but it enjoyed its relationship with the district.

"Unfortunately, despite best efforts, the original vision of the contract from a signage and sponsorship perspective was not able to be fulfilled," spokesman Mike Bernstein said in the statement.

Summa Health's decision comes less than six months after the district paid $13,000 to install a permanent sign near State Route 8. Clark said ODOT denied a larger billboard that the contract called for, but which both sides knew may not be approved because past billboards were rejected.

"They looked at drawings, they drove by it, they were good with everything. We got it installed and then a few months later they're canceling the deal because it's not a billboard," Clark said.
Summa Health officials met with the school district to discuss other opportunities, and "we remain willing to engage in additional dialogue," Bernstein said.

Clark said Summa offered the district a revised proposal for the next school year in which Summa Health would invest $25,000 to keep signage in place, and discussions are ongoing.
Clark said the district is looking for a new corporate sponsor.

"We're great partners, and we'd be happy to work with anybody," Clark said.

Summa Health noted it is not ending community sponsorships but regularly evaluates contractual relationships to ensure they are providing maximum value.