YOUNGSTOWN School to be bigger all around

The high school will have two gyms, larger classrooms and a combined cafeteria-auditorium.
YOUNGSTOWN -- If you had to describe the city's new high school in one word, "big" would be a good choice.
The 1,250-student school on the city's East Side, expected to open in fall 2004, will have bigger classrooms, bigger gyms, a bigger library and bigger music rooms, according to preliminary plans expected to be approved by the board of education this afternoon.
"All of the spaces in this building are bigger, much bigger in some cases, right down the line," said Paul Ricciuti of Ricciuti, Balog & amp; Partners Architects.
The dimensions are outlined in a 15-page document that requires approval of the school board and the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is overseeing the project.
Centerpiece: The $32 million high school, the first to be built in the city in nearly 50 years, is the centerpiece of a $163.5 million project to overhaul all of the city's public school buildings.
School district voters approved a 4.4-mill tax issue in November to provide the $33.2 million local share of the project, and the state will fund $130.2 million.
The high school will be built near East Middle School starting in November 2002 and is expected to be open for classes at the start of the 2004-05 school year, Ricciuti said this morning.
Ricciuti said the preliminary plans, technically known as a "program of requirements," were developed with the input of principals, administrators and community members. Architects will take the details and begin designing the building.
"We're going to take all of the pieces and start putting the building together," said Ricciuti, whose firm recently designed new high schools in Liberty and Columbiana.
Much larger: From classrooms to closets, the new high school will be much bigger than the city's three existing high schools, encompassing 208,750 square feet. In comparison, Woodrow Wilson High School and The Rayen School are 150,000 square feet each.
Wilson and Rayen will be converted to middle schools. The plan calls for a 100,000-square-foot addition to Chaney High School, doubling the size of the building.
The new high school will have 32 regular classrooms at 900 square feet each, compared with 700 to 750 square feet in the city's existing high schools, Ricciuti said.
The focal point of the building will be the media center or library, Ricciuti said. The center will encompass nearly 4,500 square feet of reading and circulation space, compared with 1,500 square feet now at Wilson.
The band room will be 2,500 square feet, compared with 2,000 square feet at Wilson. And, the building will have a separate, 1,200-square-foot vocal room.
The school will feature two gyms: one seating 1,500 people for sporting events, and a smaller auxiliary gym for physical education classes.
Because the state will not fund construction of an auditorium, the high school will have a combined cafeteria and auditorium that will seat about 700 people.
The school also will have 13,600 square feet of space for special education students, well above the 4,000 square feet the state projects for such a high school. Ricciuti said the city schools have a much higher percentage of special needs students and need the extra space.

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