RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — New Boston School is delaying the start of their school year until Sept. 5 to allow more time for construction on the new pre-K through 12 school on Lakeview Avenue. If construction is still not complete by that time, Superintendent Mike Staggs said students will start that day in the old buildings, but he’s optimistic that won’t be needed.
Teachers, he said, will return on Sept. 4, and students will begin on Sept. 5.
“Right now the goal is the fourth, and contractors are pushing to get that done. I am optimistic. I think it can be done,” Staggs said.
Originally planning to complete construction in July and start classes on Aug. 15, school officials met with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) in Columbus on Monday and decided to push the opening three-weeks.
Staggs said construction is moving along well right now, but has been delayed by problems with the bricks first, then the custom-made windows, and now the fire alarm system. On Monday, construction crews were digging out an area for a large retention pond in front of the building. Before students will allowed in the building, crews will still have to finish the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.
“They’ve got a little bit of that done, but they’ve got a little left on all of it. They’ve got flooring, which we’ve started so they’ve got most of that to do. We’ve got the windows; right now that’s a biggie. Just as soon as they are manufactured they are being shipped that day,” Staggs said.
If students are able to start the year in the new building on Sept. 5, Staggs assures parents that it will be ready and safe — even if there is still a little more work to be done.
“They won’t let us move in unless it’s extremely safe for students, and that building has gone through multiple inspections now. It will go through a life-safety inspection before we’re allowed to even occupy any of it,” he said.
If students have to start the year in the old school buildings, which are nearly 100 years old already, that will create significant complications and added cost for the district. The old buildings were emptied at the end of the school year in May, and they have not been prepared for another year. Janitors would have to quickly buy supplies and clean the buildings, and teachers would have to move things back into their old classrooms. Even the student handbook would have to be completely re-written again, which could cost the district another $5,000 to print.
Some village residents are concerned that students will start in the old buildings and then the school won’t have time to completely move into the new buildings until Christmas break. Staggs said that scenario is extremely unlikely.
The current New Boston elementary and middle schools — Stanton and Oak, respectively — were built in 1913, and Glenwood High School was built in 1917. In 2008, the school district passed a local tax issue to build a new consolidated school building on Lakeview Avenue. Oak and Stanton schools are expected to be torn down later this year, but the high school will be saved.
Staggs will present his report from the OSFC to the New Boston School Board during their regular meeting on Thursday. He said the school won’t know until late-August whether students will be start in the new building or the old. Either way, he said, it will be Sept. 5.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.