New Philadelphia, Ohio - New Philadelphia school officials are continuing their dialogue with the community as they look at their building options.
Parents, staff and community members had another opportunity Thursday to help shape a facilities improvement plan for the school district. School board member Dave Frantz says they’re in a good position to start making some decisions, and they want the community to help guide them.
“It just didn’t make any sense to us as a board to try to take another step forward without knowing what the community wanted," he says. "To design something that the community’s not going to support seem a little bit like a waste of time to me... It seems a lot like a waste of time to me, so that’s why we’re here tonight.”
The district is locked in to have 55 percent of any improvements or new construction funded by the state. Frantz says they see this as a good opportunity to try to get ahead of increasing enrollment.
"Where do we put those kids when we’re running out of space at the elementaries? The potential is there to run out of space at the high school and the middle school building. That’s what we’re faced with. That’s what we’re looking at," he says.
Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell is one of the parents who attended Thursday’s meeting. He says one of his biggest concerns is the modular trailers that are used being used as classrooms at the elementary level.
"There are some security issues with these modulars. There have already been some minor incidents of people that were caught at the modulars, like not inside but they maybe had someone sleeping under the steps of a modular on a school day," he says. "There was no harm from those, but those are things that we just can’t have. We can’t make it that easy to reach our kids."
Campbell says he isn’t set on any plan at this point. He just knows that something needs to be done.
"Fix the problems, fix the security, fix the overcrowding, and I’m open to just about any suggestions, whether it’s current buildings or new," he says.
Frantz says they will continue to gather feedback from the community as they start to narrow down the options.
"[We’ll] try to get an idea of what three to five directions are we pointing at right now. From that, have more meetings in February, have more meetings in March and these meetings will keep going on and we’ll keep seeking public input," he says.
Another meeting is scheduled for January 29th at 7 pm in the Front Avenue Administrative Office. Additional dates have not yet been announced.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV