East Palestine school razing nears

EAST PALESTINE -- School officials were to open bids at noon today for the demolition of the former West North Avenue school built in 1912.
The building is one of three vacated when pupils moved into new facilities in 1998. It most recently housed the district's administrative offices.
Schools Superintendent Jeff Richardson said a building that will house kindergarten and first grade pupils will eventually be built on the site. The building will include a basement to be used for storage, he said. Richardson said the district has antique desks and other classroom furniture and a number of items donated over the years and there is not adequate storage space for those items.
Construction: Renovation and additions at the elementary, middle school and high school are to begin this spring. Kreidler Construction Co. of Beaver Township was awarded the general construction contract of $2.6 million in January for the elementary improvements. Six other companies were awarded various plumbing, heating and electrical contracts.
The $5.5 million in improvements at the elementary will include an additional 25,000 square feet consisting of classrooms and a cafeteria.
Richardson said plans for the high school and middle school renovations must be approved by the state before that part of the project can be bid.
Besides renovation of some classrooms, the middle school and high school project includes an addition of about 17,000 square feet. That project is estimated at nearly $10 million.
Stadium: Plans for a new press box at the football stadium across Thomas Street from the high school are also in the works, he said.
Although some people would like to see more extensive renovation of the stadium, including new bleachers, those improvements are two or three years down the road, Richardson said.
He also said regardless of the eventual plans approved for the press box, he would like to see Thomas Street vacated. He said closing the street would give students a walkway between the high school and middle school and the football stadium, and create a safer campus-type environment among the three schools.

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