January 22, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
New Boston School sent an emergency alert to parents early Tuesday morning, informing them that students would be released early due to a problems with its heating system. Superintendent Mike Staggs explained that the heat was working in the school, but was inconsistent between the building pods.
The district passed a local levy to build new schools in 2008 and broke ground in April 2011. Originally expecting to open in June, the new school — located on Lakeview Avenue and the newly created Glenwood Tiger Trail behind the New Boston Stadium — wasn’t open to students until Nov. 19, after a series of construction delays and setbacks.
“We’ve had problems with the heat since day one,” Staggs said.
Asked if they should have opened the building knowing there was heating problems, Staggs replied, “Absolutely. We didn’t have much of a choice. The building was done, and I’ve been told this is typical of a new building.”
Staggs said he arrived at the school early Tuesday morning and found it very cold inside the building.
“I went through the entire building, every classroom. A lot of the younger grades are fine. There’s a couple that aren’t, but especially the (grades) 1-3 pod is perfect. It was actually warm enough for me to feel warm. Then some of the rooms were 70 (degrees) and some of the rooms were 50,” Staggs said.
He said the HVAC contractor, Mechanical Heating and Air in Portsmouth, was called to look at the system at 7 a.m. Tuesday, but by 9:30 a.m. things still weren’t much better. Staggs then made the decision to release students early, beginning with pre-school at 11 a.m., then grades 4-12 at 11:30 a.m., and grades K-3 at noon.
“It’s unacceptable,” Staggs said. “Our construction manager, Hill International, who’s in charge of the project, and the OSFC (Ohio School Facilities Commission) are both concerned that the heat’s not where it should be. It’s not like it’s not working, but it’s not where it should be.”
Tuesday was the perhaps the coldest day of the season in Scioto County, so far, with highs projected near 15 degrees, lows near 7, and a windchill dropping to minus-7. The National Weather Service forecasts a chance of snow on Wednesday, with daytime temperatures high near 25 and wind chill as low as minus-2.
Staggs said he planned to arrive at the school building very early again on Wednesday, and if the heat still wasn’t fixed he would cancel school immediately.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.