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Officials say Austintown school issues show need for new building

Published: Fri, January 31, 2014 @ 12:06 a.m.

By kalea hall



Issues with heating and cooling vents at Fitch High School led to five areas of flooding at the building — just a day after the board of education passed a resolution to have a bond issue on the May ballot for a new school.

“We have had issues in the past, and we will have issues in the future, and this is one of the reasons why the board asked the community to pass a bond,” Superintendent Vince Colaluca said.

The first waterfall to burst from the ceiling happened about 9 a.m. in a hallway. Two other incidents occurred in the hallways and two more inside classrooms. No one was hurt.

“It happened in isolated areas,” high school Principal Chris Berni said. “We were able to shut down that part of the hallway and reroute the kids.”

The problem was with uni-vents, which are used for heating and cooling of the building, Berni explained.

“Because it has been so cold, everything has been frozen and today the temperature rose enough to create a thaw, so there was frozen water in the lines and that caused the lines to burst and the water just literally pours out of the uni-vents,” he said.

Some of the leaks occurred on the first floor and the top floor.

One that occurred on the second-floor ceiling of a classroom trickled down into the cafeteria, but students already had finished their lunches.

“Our custodial team and maintenance are working together to clean it up,” Berni said. “ We are going to be here through the night on those five uni-vents.”

Western Reserve Mechanical is also helping with the cleanup and restoration.

This issue also occurred three years ago at the high school, Berni said.

The school, built in the 1960s, has a shallow ceiling, with different ventilators and not as much insulation as the new buildings the district has.

“It was designed a long time ago,” Colaluca said.

The 4.1-mill bond issue would raise $45,895,000 over 37 years for a new school, revamped auditorium, stadium and gym.

Of that, $10 million will go to the locally funded initiative of revamping the auditorium, stadium and gym.

The state is covering 47 percent of the $64 million project new school construction project.

“We recommend the smartest way is to use the state money to build a new school,” Colaluca said.

If the bond issue does not pass in May, then the board can decide to have a special election in August.

After that it will go into a “lapsed status,” which means the local share will have to be obtained before the state provides its share.


1repeaters(313 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Should have fixed the problem 3 years ago; that's what NORMAL people do. What a beautiful way to ask for a new building; just neglect the repairs on the current one.

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2polhack(129 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

What a coincidence, ask for a levy and have a flood the next day! Recent news reports indicate that we actually had colder winters in the 70s and 80s. Did this building have floods in those decades?

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3Millerh113(216 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

A new Fitch high school.? That's crazy . I hope the Austintown people don't fall for this boondogle. Upgrade and maintain the current bldg

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4dd933(310 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

They could always get Penn National to buy them a new school with the money they'll save by using well water.

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5glbtactivist(320 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Shame on the Superintendent for not maintaining a fine school. He should be fined for failure to perform his duties. Then to have the nerve to ask the taxpayers of Ohio to pay for a new school is outrageous. Why did the Ohio legislature set up a system where local voters can vote to make the rest of the taxpayers in Ohio build them a new building they don't need? This happened in Youngstown. They tore down Wilson High and build another one on the exact same spot. Wasting taxpayer money.

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6AtownParent(565 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Why do we need 10 million to rehab the current stadium/gym when the turf was just replaced, all the press boxes were redone, the visitors section just redone and the gym has a newer floor and new bleachers? It would only cost the district 45 million total to rehab Fitch, with the state still paying 30 million of that cost. Instead, this jerk who bought Ipads for all his buddies in the schools, wants the tax payers to fork over 45 million so he can pad his resume some more with a state of the art school. It is time for the Super to go!!!

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7papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

other districts are building new schools, why can't we?? it's called keeping up with the jones's. fix the leak and forget it.

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8dontbeafool(2058 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

what incentives to these people have to keep the schools properly maintained? Every 30 years, they get a new one anyway. Seems like that is becoming the norm. My schools were 100 years old and we still functioned. Now it is 30 years, tear it down, and ask the taxpayers for a top of the line building with all the bells and whistles. A solution to the problem should have been figured out the FIRST time that a problem with the flooding occurred.

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9DontBanThisDrone(1036 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

^ Agreed.


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10Dagwood(482 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The moral of this story for any school looking for an upgrade is: don't leave the heat on over the weekend and you too can have a brand new school.

Of course Austintown will vote this down, the people are too smart for Colaluca and his band of misfits.

This new school project smells of Casino Bob, and ever since he lost that trustee race he needs a new project.

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11truthbtold2u(4 comments)posted 2 years, 2 months ago

Everyone is on the right track here!! But it might just pass, so PLEASE be diligent with this issue!!! Keep informing neighbors, etc. And if you have to, offer rides to the elderly to get them to the polls!!! VOTE NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Depending on wording, of course!)

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