New Austintown schools receive positive feedback

By kalea hall


Despite having to reconfigure the traffic flow at the new elementary and intermediate schools, the first month has gone well for the students and teachers at both, according to Superintendent Vince Colaluca.

The new buildings opened Sept. 4 and were functional, but there still were areas that needed work. Today, the schools still need some technology updates and landscaping to be completed, and construction workers still are working on moving a dirt pile to make way for a parking lot.

“I’ve heard nothing but positive” reactions, Colaluca said. The traffic “is getting better every day. I feel the parents are very happy.”

The elementary school for kindergarten through second grade and the intermediate building for third through fifth grade were able to be built after a May 2010 2.9-mill levy passed and the Ohio School Facilities Commission approved $23 million for the $50 million project.

The custodial department had to move more than 10,000 boxes to prepare for the school year with the 1,187 students in the elementary school and the 1,162 students in the intermediate school. The teachers had to unpack all of the items and sort them for the 16 classrooms in each building.

Things were “almost perfect by the time the students came into the buildings,” Colaluca said.

Colaluca credits the construction workers for moving the project along to make sure the schools were ready, and the teachers who prepped the classrooms for the students.

Though some areas still need work, both schools are fully equipped with improved security.

Every building in the district including Austintown Middle School and Fitch High School, has an officer on patrol. Additionally, cameras monitor the schools, and a new system called RAPTOR scans everyone’s identification when they come into the buildings. To help with the traffic and safety of the students, additional crossing-guard positions are open.

“It was not just about getting new buildings,” Colaluca said. “We looked at the whole package.”

The safety and security of the students was a major part of that package, and so was the need for a “21st-century” learning environment, Colaluca said.

A dedication ceremony for both schools will be a part of the Awesome-town celebration Oct. 6. The event also includes a 5K race, tours of the school, pancake breakfast, spaghetti lunch, car show and a dedication ceremony for the Veterans’ Memorial at Falcon Stadium.

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