The school board, city council and parks commission met to discuss renovations.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Public comment should be sought soon concerning plans for the $163.5 million school district construction and renovation project, city council members say.
A major topic at a joint meeting of city council, the park and recreation commission, the school board and school architects at city hall Wednesday was the school board's need for park and playground land for construction.
Denise Skowron, park commission chairwoman, said she is encouraged by the school board's intention to relocate playground equipment displaced by the project.
Public forum: Councilman Ron Sefcik, D-4th, said he wants a public hearing soon on the school board's plans to build a new West Elementary School at Schenley Park, where the school board owns 5 acres and seeks another 4 acres owned by the park commission. "I just want to get input from the people themselves because they're the ones that voted for the school levy," he said.
"The present site is very small. It's landlocked by one-way streets. It's a very poor area to get in and out of with school buses," said Anthony DeNiro, executive director of school business affairs, explaining why the school board would rather build at Schenley Park than adjacent to the current West building.
The board's plans call for the West building to be demolished and the land to be turned over to the city for reuse, DeNiro said.
Councilman Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, who represents the area where the new East Side High School is to be built, said it's important that public information meetings be conducted to answer questions councilmen are now getting from their constituents. "People want to be part of the process. They don't want to just see something happen," he said.
The new high school is to be built adjacent to the site of East Middle School and the school board seeks city-owned land on the north side of Parker Street. Plans presented by Architect Paul Ricciuti call for the city to vacate Parker Street, between Bennington and Garland avenues.
East Middle School: Architect Steven Ludwinski of Heery International of Cleveland, project manager, said the Ohio School Facilities Commission is evaluating East Middle School and no decision has been made whether to retain it or demolish and replace it.
Also presented at the meeting were plans to build a new South Elementary School on the same site as Taft Elementary School, which would be demolished. There, the school district owns playground property and leases it to the park commission.
Also addressed was the new North Elementary School, which will be built on the same site as Harding Elementary School, which would also be demolished. The school district owns Harding Park and leases it to the commission and the district seeks park space behind the school next to The Rayen School football field.
Also discussed was the renovation of Sheridan School, where the school board seeks to use playground space it now owns and leases to the park board.
Groundbreaking is set for next fall.