NILES SCHOOLS Plan for facility has support

The district is part of a group of schools seeking a grant to improve American-history teaching.
NILES -- School board members agreed to support a plan by the Frontliners club to start a fund-raising campaign for an improved training facility for the high school football team.
Mike Dunn, president of the club which raises money for the team, said the locker room at the football stadium houses lockers, shower facilities and equipment. When the locker rooms are being used, the equipment has to be pushed out of the way to make room, making it inaccessible for working out.
"It was built for 50 kids originally," Dunn said. "We've got 100 to 110 kids in there now and the overcrowding is terrible."
The facility includes only four shower heads for all of the players.
The club wants to build an outbuilding about 20 feet behind the locker room. The property isn't being used and the building would house the weight equipment and other training equipment, freeing up space in the locker room.
Earlier attempt died: A similar plan for a larger facility died for lack of interest about two years ago, said Duane Yeager, another club member, but he says they aren't giving up.
Costs haven't been determined because the club is hoping for some donations of services such as plumbing and electrical work. People interested in contributing to the effort may contact club members through the school district.
Yeager said stadium problems extend to cleaning and routine maintenance. The last few times the stadium has been painted, club members did it and paid for the paint, he said.
School board members said they realize the stadium needs work, but money is the problem.
"There are things that were not done to that facility for 20 years that should have been done regularly," said Rocky Riviella. "Where do you draw funds if you're short of money? Do you put it into the schools or put it into facilities? I'd like to put it into both."
History program: In other business, the board agreed to participate in a program aimed at improving the teaching of American history. The district will be part of a consortium with Youngstown State University and Girard, Alliance, Struthers and Campbell schools. The school districts were chose because of their similar educational and socioeconomic characteristics, said Dr. Tom Leary, a YSU history professor.
The group will apply for a three-year, $960,000 federal education department grant. The money would cover stipends and tuition costs for teachers who attend history-teaching classes, salaries for three people from the university to work in the school districts and materials structured to make it easier to teach history.
Leary said the group expects to learn by the fall whether or not it receives the grant.
"This particular group of schools was not on their radar," Leary said of the education department. "We think that makes our chances for funding particularly good."

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