AUSTINTOWN SCHOOLS Superintendent made director of facilities

The former superintendent has been with the district for 31 years.
AUSTINTOWN -- Former schools Superintendent Stan Watson will remain at the school district for three years, earning about $58,000 annually.
The school board has appointed Watson, superintendent for two years and with the district for 31, as director of facilities planning and development. He will oversee construction of the new middle school on South Raccoon Road as well as the sale of Austintown Middle School, Mahoning Avenue.
Brad Gessner, school board president, said that the roughly $58,000 per year paid to Watson will come from the 2.9-mill bond issue approved by voters in November 2003 to build the new school rather than from the general fund.
"During his 10 years as assistant superintendent, he was in charge of facilities and showed a responsibility and significant savings of taxpayer dollars over that 10-year period," Gessner said.
Watson won't get benefits.
Construction plans
Gessner said that Watson will fill the role of construction manager for the middle school project. Bids for the project came in about 23 percent under budget.
Superintendent Douglas Heuer said construction managers typically earn considerably more than what Watson is being paid. Watson also will oversee upgrades to other school buildings, Heuer said.
The November 2003 passage of the bond issue allowed the district to borrow $26 million to build the new school. Bids for the project came in at about $17 million.
Plans call for the construction of a 174,668-square-foot school that will house pupils in grades 6-8 and have 44 classrooms, about 900 square feet each.
Watson said construction of the new school is proceeding well.
An auction for the Austintown Middle School building and property is set for Aug. 29 with bids starting at $2.2 million.
If no bidder comes forward with at least the starting bid, the district then may try to sell the property outright using a real estate agent. The board also will decide at that point whether to demolish the 1916 building before the sale or to leave that to the new owner.
Because of the building's age, asbestos abatement will likely be part of the demolition cost.

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