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An enlightening education

Published: Mon, August 23, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.


Carole Hoff organizes books in her third-grade classroom. In the new school, each classroom has five computers, including one for the teacher, and is equipped with a sound system so instructors can use lapel microphones.


Steve Pall with Nomad Group checks the Lutron lighting system at the new South Range K-12 complex on state Route 46. The lights will be brighter near the wall and dimmer near the windows to better use natural light from windows.


By Ashley Luthern



A new school has technology almost as smart as the students it will house.

The $38 million South Range school complex will serve all of the district’s 1,340 students, from kindergarden to 12th grade. It replaces the combined high school-elementary school in North Lima and the middle school in Greenford.

The school sprawls on a plot of land off state Route 46, about four miles south of the Canfield Fairgrounds.

When students arrive Sept. 8 for their first day, each classroom will be equipped with five computers — including one for the teacher — SMART boards, an interactive-teaching tool that connects to a computer; and daylight harvesting technology, said Superintendent Dennis Dunham.

“With electricity usage, the school will save money over the long haul,” said Steve Palla with Nomad Group of Texas. The Lutron Lighting system should pay for itself in 10 years.

Palla explained that the larger classrooms have two windows to allow natural light in, and as the ceiling light fixtures get farther from the window, the light becomes brighter. If someone forgets to turn out the light, a motion sensor will automatically turn it off after a certain amount of time.

The school is divided into three color-coded wings, for elementary, middle and high school students, each with its own gymnasium, Dunham said.

The project was funded with $20 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and an $18 million bond issue approved by voters in 2007.

“We’re well below budget,” Dunham said.

The bond issue also included money for demolition of the two older buildings, but the district is trying to sell them, he said.

The elementary-high school complex on South Avenue is still for sale, and a second auction is planned for later this year. It would cost about $300,000 to demolish it. The middle school sold to Edward Schaefer for $100,000 last year, but the district can use it until September 2011, Dunham said.

School board offices will remain in North Lima.

About 110 workers are at the site daily to ensure the building will be ready for the first day of school that’s less than three weeks away.

“A lot of areas are close, but not 100 percent,” Dunham said Thursday. The auditorium will not be ready until Oct. 1.

The complex will have an open house today at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., for elementary, middle and high school students, respectively.


1VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I see in the lead photo that one of those 110 workers "Liberated" a shopping cart from a local business establishment in order to use it for wheeling construction goods around. Wonderful. Just wonderful. Not only are we paying 38 million for a new school, but we are also paying billions upon billions of dollars each year for theft from businesses, which is now one of the largest crimes in America. And no one seems to care. We should care...we pay for it. Why do we look the other way?

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Wait till you see what kind of additional operating levy will be needed to support this Taj Mahal school. Makes a property owner wanna throw up all over it!!!!

Vote Governor Stricknine out in November. He did nothing to help the schools except kick the can down the road to the property taxpayers. Tax & Spend at it's worst.

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3mikeymike(469 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

People get a life ! If you don't live in the school district,you don't have to pay,the taxes.Get a clue,the people in the South Range Schools voted for the levy,to build this beautiful school.

@db2,union forever and vindyak,you three are nothing but miserable,negative people.All you do is find fault with everything positive.It's a beautiful school,your schools must be old and falling apart.

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4RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The taxpayers voted for this. So tough s*** guys. And UnionForever, the Governor lessened the burden on local districts and increased state funding to schools. How does this equal "kicking the can?"

You're not that smart are you?

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5VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I am OK with the cost of building a new school if it was approved by voters. What I am not OK with is the reason the price is so high. Construction sites are typical havens for theft and waste and I have seen more than my share of them. I once visited a site where the contractor complained to me of the theft of over 100 2 x 4 x 8 boards in less than a week. All of them disappeared during the work day.

One store manager told me their chain looses $8 milion dollars a year in stolen single bottle diet cokes. Another store manager said they lost more print cartridges in a week than they sold. Even with TV monitors, managers cannot catch cashiers ringing out friends and family with artfully crafted methods of scanning goods with the goods not registering on the tape.

This is the true problem in America. We are obsessed with theft. The idea that "its only one small item" should not be tollerated. Getting something for nothing and making everyone else pay seems to have become so common and so accepted, and yet, we ALL pay for it!

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6Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@ mikeymike: You are WRONG! You did not read the article carefully. " $20 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission", that means ALL Ohio Taxpayers paid for your school. The fund gets tax dollars from all Ohio Taxpayers and spends monies on large projects.

So, for you to be on your high horse trying to school others to shut up, since it is not their money is also wrong.

Every person here has a right to comment! Just because you don't agree with what they say does not invalidate their comments.

Truth be told. Strickland did promise to REFORM Ohio's schools and remove the burden from Homeowners to fund Ohio's Schools. That did not happen, so its just another politician making a promise and breaking it.

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7mikeymike(469 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@joe306tow ,you are wrong,the money came from,the tabacco settlement and not the taxpayers,the state received a billion dollars,which was set aside for school construction..Please understand all the facts about school construction,before giving false information.

I agree people have a right to comment,even if it lacks all of the information,such as you.

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8Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@ RealAmericanPatriot again NO, its not ALL monies approved by voters. Some of the Funds (actually more than half) came from a Statewide Fund. All Ohio taxpayers contributed to this fund.

Another point, if you care to check it out. Your Local District DOES NOT OWN the schools. The Schools are owned by the State and run by the Local Districts per Ohio Revised Code.

Strickland was supposed to put a State sales tax or other funding scheme in place to remove school funding from Homeowners.

Who, unfairly pay the most for Ohio's Schools. Dan Gilbert, The Dolan's, Learner, and other Sports and Business Owners get tax abatements , while Homeowners get the SHAFT!

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9mikeymike(469 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@joe306tow,the taxpayers did not contribute to the state fund for school construction.It came from the tabacco settlement.Please get your facts straight.

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10Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@ mikemike ~ No, that Fund was around before the tabacco settlement. Schools were being built using this fund, before one dime of settlement money was used.

Also, most of these projects get Federal matching funds. The problem with the Federal Funds is if they Do Not use it all, the Next time Funds may be less.

I know this personally. I work for a School District and they spent money on Tiffany Lamps so, the would use up all the Federal funds.

And, it does not matter if the Money came from a Settlement or Not! The monies are for the benefit of all (Taxpayers) Ohioian's. Not just this District!

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11mikeymike(469 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@joe306tow South Range was built with the tabacco settlement money.Did you understand the article,it was about South Range,not about schools built prior,to the fund.The money is for every school district that ,wants to build or renovate.

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12green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Where do you think the money from the governor is coming from?? Government money, means tax payer money. There is not a magic fund somewhere that all this "stimulus" and "relief" comes from. Its your pocket....or at least if you pay taxes it is.
As for this levy passing....it did NOT pass in Green Township and only passed by 35 votes in Beaver Township. This new school was not needed!! We could have added to the buildings we had and ended up with MORE space and a better facility for 1/2 the money than what we are getting out of this.
This "new, pretty" building is not functional and students do not benefit in ANY WAY by a new facility. There were smart boards in the old buildings, any techonology that was asked for or needed was added in the two old buildings, we had more and bigger gyms, we had 2 football fields AND a practice field and plenty of space on the North Lima and Greenford property for an addition to the building and to build a new stadium in NL if that was one of the goals.
The levy that passed does not consider opperating costs, or the "sports complex". Those will need to be passed separately even though they have already begun working on that.
Walk through the new school and tell me what is better-FUNCTIONALLY- about this school...beyond that it will be pretty and new....for the first week. Then it will be old news.
I live in the school district, I certainly didn't vote for the initial levy, have not voted for a levy since and will not be voting for any future levies. This is a prime example of people mis-using tax payer money.

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13Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

And yes, if you call your State Senator or Representative, you will find that ALL OHIO Public Schools are owned by the State School Board. Unless your School District refused all State and Federal Funds, it is owned by ALL Ohioans.

That is why, all districts must Auction off old equipment and not just throw it away. All outdated textbooks must be tracked to where, what, and why they were destroyed.

Every hour of Overtime recorded, and the books must be balanced every year. All State requirements.

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14Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@ mikemike ~ Settlement Money is Taxpayer Money!

The Lawsuit was a Class Action Lawsuit on Behave of ALL Ohioans. The Settlement was for ALL Ohioans.

What Don't you understand?

These are taxpayer funds, resulting from a Lawsuit Settlement.

Personally, I think these funds should have been used for Cancer Treatment and Research. The claim of the Lawsuit was about Big Tobacco selling a dangerous product to Ohioans.

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15mikeymike(469 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I fully understand what the settlement was.Governor Taft,used it for schools,which is for all Ohioans.You are splitting hairs on the issue.

The bottom line is all taxpayers,have the opportunity to have new or upgraded schools.

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16Bigben(1996 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

mikeymike you actually grasp the situation.All Ohioans will pay for this crazy and unnecessary expense. Anyone who doesn't grasp that ...they aren't so smart.

What perfect timing too when the economy is in a shambles and the state is so broke they are stealing pensions.

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17PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The buildings are almost complete. It is most likely best for the students to be in one campus. Other wise the schools were several miles apart. One campus is much more efficent. South Range's new school complex, makes more sense than many of the other new schools constructed in the area. Example, Volney Rogers was demolished and a new building built on the same location. Now that is a waste..........

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18LogicAndGrammar(19 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Do uou really think that at $38 million, this project was overpriced and a "Taj Mahal"?

Read up on the $578 million school just built in Los Angeles, and be thankful that the decision-makers on the South Range project were as reasonable and budget-minded as they were.

I'd rather see taxpayer dollars going into schools that benefit all children as opposed to entitlements or programs for kids that just don't give a crap.

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19southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I notice so many negative comments concerning the construction of not only this school, but any new school. Don't you people understand that to remain competitive in the global economy, the United States must make a long-term investment in education? It appears as though some people just want to complain about anything, what miserable lives you must have!

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20green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

California is also in debt up to their ears, so congrats on a school that the rest of the nation will end up paying for. The whole reasoning behind "well everyone else is getting one why shouldn't we" is where this nation is going wrong. Newer is not better or even an investment in the future. Just because your neighbor gets a new car, does not mean you should get one too.

I went to school at South Range. There was nothing wrong with either of the buildings that could not have been modified.

How is one campus more efficient?? 1 huge new building with excessive "designing" for aesthetics is NOT better than 2 existing buildings that have worked fine for 50+ years.

You like the idea of your kindergartener having to eat lunch at 1030 or at 200 because they have one cafeteria to feed 1200 students and are over-estimating their own efficiency and timing? Or that the playground is 100 yards from the nearest door??

As per the last comment. Not sure how a bew building keeps our kids competitive in a global economy??? The school system is majorly lacking in America and it has nothing to do with the buildings we are sitting in.

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21PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Things will work out. Hopefully, with this hot weather the new buildings have AC. I remember attending school on hot days. It was a huge distraction, the heat that is. Most of the old buildings were not air conditioned. Some of the people would probably think it would be ok not to heat in the winter time either. The new South Range buildings will be just fine...........PHISHIE

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22southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

To Green41:

The cost of re-wiring an existing building for high-tech access including Internet, is far more costly than constructing a new building from scratch. In addition, new construction will allow for cost-efficient fuel savings. I also attended South Range H.S., and could not understand how students always needed to transfer bus routes off Route 46. I am excited for the students of Green & Beaver Townships.

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23green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Transfer routes?? What are you talking about? You rode the bus to respective school. Not hard to follow or problematic.

There was all the wiring for any service needed at both schools for years. There was no technology lacking at either school.

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24PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It really does not matter. The new schools are ready for the new term. Let the students enjoy their new environment. I rather see tax payers pay for new school buildings rather than spend and spend to fight wars or subsidize big business relocate to communist China............PHISHIE

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25n2wishin(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I want to say I am really happy for the kids that will be attending the new school. I attended South Range West through 7th grade and the new school is practically down the street from where we used to live. I now live in Carson City Nevada where we have a high tech center on the campus of our high school, that is being shared with the local Western Nevada College and the arrangement has worked really well for students. I wish you all great education at the new facility.
Burgundy, Gold, team fight bold hey! Go Raiders!

Rhonda Zuti Hough
Carson City, Nevada

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26PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

South Range West building was soooooooooooo old and out of touch with reality of modern times...........PHISHIE

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27green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

How are hallways and classrooms out of touch with reality?? That doesn't even make sense in a mature conversation. That building will stand a lot longer than anything that has been built on this new property. They are already discussing the "modifications" that this building will need within the next 5 years. Sad.

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28southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


I attended North Lima/South Range School District 12 years, and know that in the beginning when North Lima & Greenford school districts merged, the students that attended school in North Lima were bussed to a point off Route 46, about where the new school was constructed, and the students who lived in Greenford transferred to another bus that took them home.

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29green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Well what year was that?? I attended there for 12 years also. And graduated more than 10 years ago. It has never been like that since me or any of my family went there. The bus routes are done as a total. You can't make statements that aren't current to argue for or against something.

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30PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if South Range will have an open house??? I would like to tour the new campus. Thank goodness that the Governor had and has the progressive attitude and endeavored to help the local boards to replace the old decrepit buildings................PHISHIE

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31green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Open House is tonight but only for those people with children that will be attending the school.

You obviously have not been in the same buildings I have been in if you use the word "decrepit"

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32PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The one problem I forsee is the number of PCs per class room. I think the board should consider increasing the number of PCs per class room. Computers are essential in the real world........all students should have as much training as possible on all types of softwares........PHISHIE

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33southsidedave(5185 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


The schools merged in 1970, and that is the time period I am referring to.

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34TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

It's not just to remain competitive abroad, but competitive at home. Districts must now compete with each other for students. If your neighboring district builds a brand new facility, you better think about doing so yourself or lose student to open enrollment.

"Truth be told. Strickland did promise to REFORM Ohio's schools and remove the burden from Homeowners to fund Ohio's Schools. That did not happen, so its just another politician making a promise and breaking it."
Strickland tried. ONCE AGAIN, someone doesn't understand that ONLY the legislature can do this. They've been ordered to four times by the state supreme court but have ignored it.

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35Cowboyfan(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

the district’s 1,340 students

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36harleydog(243 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

What a great investment for the kids of this school district. Wish the kids in Boardman had a campus like this. Best of luck to South Range.

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37blitzit(1 comment)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

First and foremost.. the Levy for the new school only passed by 35 votes total.. AND the district sent out absentee ballots to recent grads who know nothing about having to pay property tax but want everything new.. thats how kids are these days.. instead of remodeling, they arent happy until something is BRAND new.. also, new families have moved into this area who dont know the HISTORY behind South Range schools.. I too am a SR grad...We just remodeled a beautiful new football stadium (prob one the best in the area), just built a brand new weightroom and auditorium less than 10 years ago that are still in great shape! So much money is being wasted by building this brand new campus.. i agree its nice to have all the kids going to one place.. but what was wrong with ALL the land where the high school is now for a new campus? That way you still have the things that we just spent levy money on (weightroom, auditorium, etc)... Could have easily saved money on having to buy property to put into the new schools..All these new families that moved in here are the ones that passed this levy.. not the families who have made this community what it has become today! The classrooms in the new building are smaller than what they were in the older schools, and wow look at the gym.. lets seat only 100 people TOTAL at a high school game! Because thats more efficient right? We had to down-size on that... and like green said above 1 big cafeteria, thats not efficient either?! Ya the thoughts of having this HUGE BEAUTIFUL school is nice... but is it necessary in this time in the economy? absolutely not.. South Range schools pay the HIGHEST taxes in MAHONING COUNTY! well they are gonna go up once again now...way to go! good decision on building a $38 million dollar campus... Nothing but waste in SR schools right now!

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38TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

so the real heart of the issue for blitz comes out...new people moving into south range school district. yikes

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39green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

actually TB i think you missed the point.. the point to my whole comment was the waste... not about new community members... yes new people into the district passed this levy for SR.. not the families who have been in the community for years.. but the moral was the waste... waste of money for example: to buy the property when there was plenty of property where the schools reside at now...instead of remodelling or building on the property we already have... keeping the already existing things that are new!

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40green41(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

A new building DOES NOT educate people or teach them to read. Teachers and efforts from parents do that. You can have the prettiest new building and the dumbest kids around. Stop equating the two.

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41PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The new South Range Complex is in a very good location. What an addition to the area. South Range not only has a great academic program, now South Range has one of the best facilities in the three county area............it was wise of the board to take advantage of the Governor's great plan to replace old, old facilities...........Does anyone know if the new facilities have septic systems like the old buildings??? PHISHIE

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42TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

yeah yeah yeah green...and when kids from all over the country are surpassing what grads from south range can do a decade or so from now, you'll be crying about the state of the schools

right on 5th

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43n2wishin(8 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I should probably qualify my statement..I attended South Range West from 70-78. I remember how hot the rooms were on the third floor during fourth and fifth grade. By springtime it was so hot we could hardly stay awake. Climate control was not invented yet! LOL
Seriously, I am really happy for South Range and my friends whose children will attend the new school.

Rhonda Zuti Hough
Carson City, Nevada

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44Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes, it is obviously true that the residents approved this tax. But it is also true that the state (we other school district taxpayers) kicked in a large amount to have this state-of-the-art school built so others can brag and have prestige. Why do the schools need to be so grand? So much of it is for 'show'. When I was in school, we didn't have air conditioning; in fact, it was so cold in winter that we wore our coats. Big deal...that was then; this is now but we learned just as well...maybe better since there was discipline allowed. A kid will learn no better in this fine state-of-the-art school than he would in a school less beautiful....as long as he has the tools available to learn. Give the kids the TOOLS for learning and forget spending a fortune on a pretty building and nice offices for the personel and school board members. The building itself is not doing the teaching; it is just a pretty place and money wasted that could be used to help other districts that are floundering financially.
Springfield Local wanted to tear down schools that were about 25 years old, citing they were in need of so much repair. Well, why did they need so much repair? Who was wasting money on upkeep of these buildings? What they wanted was really to keep up with their neighbors that were getting pretty buildings. The teachers are not any better teaching in a pretty school and neither is the administration. And please don't tell me these people are putting forth more effort than they would in the old facility. If that is the case, those are people we don't need in the system!!

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