St. C. takes steps toward building project

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The St. Clairsville-Richland City School District continues to lay the groundwork for what it hopes will be a new, state-of-the-art educational complex on land near the current buildings.

To that end, the board approved payment to McKinley & Associates in the amount of $10,158.98 for a topographic survey as part of its regular meeting Wednesday morning. Superintendent Walt Skaggs said it’s just another stage in the process of what he and the board hope will be a new beginning for the district.

“They’ve come in and done surveys of the land to make sure the the site is a buildable site, which it is, and then they use the topography map and those surveys to guide what they do and where those buildings should be located,” Skaggs said prior to the start of the meeting. “Architects are putting together renditions of what the buildings will look like and actually where they will be located on the site.”

The board is placing an 8.56-mill levy on the November ballot in an effort to raise money to fund the $79.9 million project, which would be completed in stages.

According to information provided by Skaggs and other project leaders, the project would include a new, two-story, 100,000-square-foot elementary school with expanded educational spaces; a full-size gym; and fine arts classrooms. The district also would add to its high school with science rooms with labs. The 1924 middle school building would be demolished under the proposed plan.

The district also intends to build a new fine arts multipurpose theater capable of seating 750, build a new field house, place new turf on the football fields and resurface the track.

In addition, voters will have the opportunity to pass a separate bond and operating levy for a new natatorium with an eight-lane pool. However, that bond would be contingent on passing the other bond.

Most of the Wednesday meeting, however, focused on the upcoming school year, which begins for students on Aug. 22. The board welcomed and introduced many of the new staff members, along with new Resource Officer Michael Duplaga.

Duplaga expressed his desire to work with the students and staff and to continue the work done by his predecessor, Jeff Gazdik. Gazdik, who’d filled the role since 2002 and been the district’s only resource officer, stepped down from the post at the conclusion of last school year.

Gazdik accompanied Duplaga to the meeting and told those gathered that working for the district was a “great ride” and that he had enjoyed the relationship he fostered with students and staff.

In preparation for the first day of classes, some important dates were announced. They included: Meet the Team Night at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the stadium; freshmen orientation inside the middle school auditorium at 9 a.m. Aug. 16; fifth-grade open house from 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Aug. 17; an open house for the elementary from 4-6 p.m. Aug. 20; and an open house for grades six through eight from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 20.

Red Devil Stadium will play host to three Bridgeport High School football games this season, as Bill Jobko Stadium has been deemed unsafe. The board approved use of the stadium by the Bulldogs on Aug. 31, Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 at a cost of $500 per game.

In other matters, the board approved payment of $3,655.35 to ERB Electric for installation of the scoreboard at Memorial Park and the boys soccer activity budget.

The board also approved several personnel items. They included: Cori Jones, transfer to elementary special education aide; Cassi Hynes, child rearing leave application; Theresa Marmie, special education consultant for up to 20 days for the upcoming school year; Cathy Holubeck and Mary Jones, auxiliary service secretaries at St. Mary’s and East Richland Christian schools, respectively. Miranda Gill stepped down as eighth-grade volleyball coach and will volunteer with the program.

Jennifer Falbo and Shandyn Paul were approved as certified substitutes, while Caroline Harrison, Samantha Harrison, John Hawley and Cole Skaggs were approved as temporary workers for the 2018-19 school year.

Supplemental contracts were awarded to: Ben Frye, varsity football assistant; Missy Gossett, ninth-grade volleyball; Shaylah Fiutem, seventh-grade volleyball; Natalie Perzanowski, junior high cross country; Gary Watt, varsity boys soccer. Pupil activity contracts were approved for: Kurt Clifford and Anthony Skrabak, seventh-grade football; Eric Gay and Chris Balog, eighth-grade football; Don Giffin, varsity football; Rebecca Kelch, eighth-grade volleyball; Cathy Wolfe, reserve and ninth-grade cheering; and Caden Myers, golf.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m. Sept. 12 at the board office.