Committee promotes bond issue
Suggestions for improvements came from the community.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- A 3.5-mill bond issue on the November ballot would fund improvements at all district school buildings.
Friends of Boardman Schools, the committee organized to promote the bond issue, announced its kickoff campaign Wednesday at Stadium Drive Elementary School. If passed, the bond issue will pay for $51.55 million in improvements districtwide.
The district would borrow the money through the sale of bonds to be paid back over 28 years.
"Passage of the 3.5-mill bond issue would be the biggest thing to ever happen in the Boardman community in its history," said Niklaus Amstutz, school board member.
He said discussions about improvements started about four years ago and involved input from community groups, including parents, staff and teachers.
Those groups made recommendations to the school board.
The ages of the district's seven buildings range from Boardman Center Middle School, built in 1911, to the 37-year-old high school. The late 1960s marked the last time the district had a bond issue on the ballot. Voters go to the polls Nov. 7.
Amstutz also said that if the district had waited until it was eligible to receive money for building improvements from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, it would have taken until at least 2012 and even then, OSFC only would pay only 10 percent of the costs.
The costs would likely have increased during that time, he added.
Plans call for improvements to eliminate the modular classrooms at both Stadium Drive and Robinwood Lane elementary schools. Stadium Drive also has two kindergarten classrooms that are connected to the school and can only be accessed by going outside of the main building. There's no hallway connecting the classrooms to the rest of the building.
Some classrooms at Stadium Drive also require pupils to pass through another classroom to gain entry.
Improvements at all elementary schools call for replacing parts of ceilings, expanding kindergarten rooms, updating classrooms, corridors and the cafeteria and building new fa & ccedil;ades.
Jim Goske, principal at Stadium Drive, pointed out what used to be a hallway closet that's now used for tutoring pupils in reading and math who are identified as at-risk.
The school's music and art teachers carry supplies on a cart they push from classroom to classroom because there isn't sufficient space in the building to have classrooms dedicated to those subjects, the principal said.
The improvement plan will accommodate those subjects, he said.
What's also on the list
Improvements at Center and Glenwood Middle schools involve replacing lockers, renovating electrical and plumbing work and replacing some gym doors.
A new 38,000-square-foot auxiliary gym at the high school would provide space for female sports and wrestling facilities. An upgraded stadium at the high school would include new windows in various areas.
Stadium improvements would allow football games, now played at the stadium at Center Middle School, to be played on the high school grounds, along with soccer games.
Upgrades also allow improved security at all of the buildings, Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said. Although there haven't been problems with unauthorized people getting into school buildings, "we want our buildings to be the most secure in the area."