YOUNGSTOWN More money needed for plans

The state and school board could consider demolishing East Middle School.
YOUNGSTOWN -- City school officials are considering asking the state to add as much as $10 million to the district's $163.5 million facilities project.
The school board was to meet with its construction manager this afternoon to hear a report that the district will need more money than initially projected for renovations to Choffin Career & amp; Technical Center, Williamson Elementary School and East Middle School.
Recent evaluations of the facility needs at Choffin, Williamson and East revealed costlier renovations than originally determined when the buildings were assessed about four years ago by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, said Anthony DeNiro, executive director of school business affairs.
The board could decide to ask the OSFC to reassess the facilities needs at the three buildings and ask OSFC to expand the project cost, DeNiro said.
Voters approved a tax issue in November 2000 to provide the $33.2 million local share of a project that calls for major renovations to 12 school buildings as well as construction of three new elementary schools and a new high school. OSFC will pay $130.2 million.
District's share: If the project is expanded by $10 million, the state would pay about $8 million and the district about $2 million, said Carolyn Funk, district treasurer.
The district's additional share would be funded through interest earned on bonds, she said.
"We're not in a situation where we have to go back and ask people for more money," DeNiro said. "I think this, in the end, will work out. What we want to make sure is that we do the right thing for these buildings."
East Middle School: DeNiro said he expects much of the discussion today to focus on East Middle School, which is slated for nearly $13 million in renovations.
"If [the state] determines the East building is too big for what it's needed for, they may look at another way to go," he said.
That means the district and state may decide instead to demolish East Middle School and build a smaller middle school on the same site, he said.
The new high school included in the project will be built behind East Middle School. DeNiro said the middle school, as it currently sits, will hide the new high school; a smaller, new middle school would not.
"You won't get the true beauty of the high school, aesthetically," he said.
Groundbreaking for the new high school is expected in fall 2002.

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