New school, campus will be available for the entire community

The school could have open gym times for the public.
LEETONIA -- School officials want the 40-acre Leetonia schools campus to be the hub of the community, Treasurer Larry Syverson said.
The district's $17 million project to construct a new consolidated school for all grades is about half finished and on schedule for completion in June. It will be ready for pupils at the start of the 2002-03 school year, Syverson said.
Schools Superintendent Lynn King, who died Sept. 28 of complications from heart surgery, often expressed a desire that the new school would be open to the community, Syverson said.
"He hoped that it would be almost like a community center," Syverson said. "There will be a lot of hallways where people can walk."
Syverson said the board has discussed having open gym times for the community.
"The board refers to the new school as the jewel of the community," Syverson said. "Certainly, it belongs to the community."
Athletic fields: In recent meetings the board of education reviewed plans to develop athletic fields on the surrounding property.
Baseball and softball fields are an immediate need, and those will be constructed next summer, Syverson said. The district has one baseball field and one field for fast-pitch softball, he said.
Syverson said other fields and possibly a school bus garage will be added over a period of years as funding is available.
The two new softball fields will also be suitable for Little League play during the summer, Syverson said.
The 130,000-square-foot building will house the district's nearly 900 pupils at one location.
Kindergarten through fourth-grade pupils will be in a one story south wing, and fifth- through 12th-graders in the two-story north wing. Fifth- through eighth-grade pupils will be on the first floor and ninth- through 12th-graders on the second floor.
High school and middle school gymnasiums, a combination cafeteria-auditorium, music rooms, administrative offices and etc. will be in a central area between the two wings.
Working inside: Syverson said construction crews think there will be no problem completing the roofing on all parts of the building by December. He said they have temporary heating in place and are prepared to do inside finishing work during the winter.
The high school and middle school gymnasiums and the elementary wing are under roof and crews are installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and windows in the elementary wing this week, he said.
Syverson said school officials are concerned vandalism could delay the project during the winter, so a security system is being installed.
"Unfortunately, we have a history of vandalism in the district," Syverson said. "We're on a tight schedule, and we don't want any setbacks."
He said the security system will include video cameras and motion detectors.
Police said three men vandalized the high school in July 2000 after deciding to continue a party there. About 30 panes of glass were broken, and computers and other equipment were damaged.
School officials estimated the loss at about $30,000.
Aging buildings: The new facility will replace three aging buildings, the junior-senior high school at 181 Walnut St., Orchard Hill Elementary at 450 Walnut St., and Washingtonville Elementary at 105 Union St., Washingtonville.
Voters approved borrowing $1.6 million through the sale of bonds in 1998 and the district will receive about $15.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission's state building assistance fund. Syverson said the state building assistance funds awarded for the project include about $675,000 for demolition.
The Orchard Hill building, adjacent to the K-12 building, sits on what will be the main parking area for the new school, and will be demolished, Syverson said.
He said the board is seeking appraisals of the other two buildings. The board has not yet determined whether those properties will be offered for sale as is, or if the buildings will be demolished first, he said.