Officials mull site of new bus garage

The district is joining a new health-care consortium.
AUSTINTOWN -- The school board and administrators are debating where to put a new bus garage.
When the district leaves Austintown Middle School for the new middle school on Raccoon Road in fall 2007, it will need a new home for its transportation offices and its maintenance department.
The school board, at its workshop session before Wednesday's regular meeting, heard options from Superintendent Doug Heuer.
Heuer said land the district owns on state Route 46, which includes between 21 and 22 acres, is one possibility. He said, however, that though there is water service at the site, there are no sewers. He said the district might have to pay to extend a sewer line to the property.
He also said that there might be wetlands on the property and that the district would have to replace any wetlands that are destroyed. That might even involve buying more property for the replacement, he said.
Other options
Heuer said another option is to build a bus garage at the Fitch campus. He said that would mean the transportation department would be in one place. Buses are already kept at the Fitch campus.
Board president Michael Creatore said that as a matter of aesthetics, he's not sure he likes the idea of putting "a huge bus garage" at the Fitch campus.
He said another option is to auction the land on Route 46 and use the money to buy land elsewhere.
Creatore said the next steps will be to get a survey of the property, which should be finished next week, and investigate what it would take to get sewer service.
The board, at its regular meeting following the workshop, authorized Heuer to begin a search for design services for the garage.
Academic audit
In other business, the board heard a presentation on having an academic audit done. The audit would be done in the fall by North Central Association for $3,227. The accrediting organization would look at the district's curriculum offerings, textbooks, supplies, technology and instructional practices, said Heuer.
Creatore announced the district is joining the Stark County School Council of Governments for health care. District treasurer Barb Kliner said the move should save the district $900,000. The district announced in October it is leaving the Mahoning County Schools Employee Insurance Consortium.
The district also named Stan Watson, the buildings and facilities director, as temporary superintendent during an emergency, in case Heuer is away and can't be reached.

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