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School completion hits snag

May 22, 2008
By JULIE GHRIST , Staff writer
STEUBENVILLE — Buena Vista Elementary School may be open a little longer than expected after Superintendent Rich Ranallo announced to the city school board Wednesday that the completion of West Pugliese Elementary School may be delayed because of a ground settlement issue.

Ranallo and board member William Kerr said settlement in the ground under the construction of the southwest wing of the building at Jim Wood Park off John Scott Highway has caused the need for additional work, which in turn could change the date of the school’s opening.

The facility was scheduled to be completed prior to the start of the school year, with Buena Vista pupils transferring to West Pugliese. But now, that move-in date is yet to be determined.

“Buena Vista will remain open until we move into West,” Ranallo stated. “There will be no changes otherwise.” He added parents are going to be told the transition will happen in December, should the target of August not be reached.

“The one-story building, currently under construction, experienced approximately five-eighth inches of settlement along the perimeter foundation and approximately 2 inches of settlement in the interior floors and interior bearing walls in the affected wing,” Kerr stated.

“To withstand possible further settlement and to support and stabilize the building, the report recommends installing pin piles or auger-cast piles for the affected part of the building,” he continued.

Kerr explained the steel, drilled elements usually range from 5-12 inches in diameter. Ranallo added the geotechnical contractor who will install the pins will “drive them down,” and nothing will have to be removed or disassembled to make the necessary repairs.

“There is a little delay,” Ranallo continued, “but we would rather go in right than move in and have people working around us.”

Ranallo said the ground settlement issue recently was investigated by the H.C. Nutting Co. of Columbus, a firm hired by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, and following its findings, architects will begin receiving quotes from contractors with possible remedies. A contract bid is expected to be accepted by the board prior to this year’s graduation date, which is May 29.

The OSFC is assisting the district in modernizing its schools through the Building Excellent Schools for Tomorrow Project, which consists of funding obtained through the school district in conjunction with the OSFC, which pays 77 percent of the project, while the district pays the remaining 23 percent of the project’s costs through the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, a donation from the Charles M. and Thelma M. Pugliese Charitable Foundation and donations from individuals and organizations.

The project is estimated to be approximately $28 million, and includes the following: housing ninth through 12th grades at Steubenville High School; having sixth through eighth grades at Harding Middle School; housing kindergarten through fifth-grade pupils at Garfield East Elementary and West Pugliese Elementary; teaching preschool through fifth grade at Wells Elementary School; and having McKinley Elementary School house preschool and special needs classes.

The West Pugliese was expected to be completed in June. The project has a cost of approximately $7.2 million.

Also on Wednesday, the board viewed a PowerPoint presentation from Wells Elementary School Principal Melinda Young, who discussed her building’s new dress code, which is scheduled to begin at the start of the 2008-09 school year.

Young stated reasons for implementing the dress code on a one-year pilot program will place emphasis on learning and not clothing. She also said uniforms will encourage distinctions of character and personality instead of appearance; will facilitate security by identifying outsiders; will enhance school spirit; and lower long-term clothing costs.

Young said the process of bringing about the new dress code included staff discussions that began in November, conducting seven community meetings with parents and taking part in a parent survey, with 215 households out of 236 responding and agreeing to the code.

The dress code will entail pupils wearing black and khaki bottoms; and red, black or white tops.

Also on Wednesday, the board:

¯ Accepted the resignation of Paul Filtz, math teacher of 30 years, effective May 31 for retirement purposes.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Larry Coffman, part-time maintenance worker, effective at the end of the school year, for personal reasons.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Donald Reeves from a supplemental coaching contract, effective at the conclusion of the 2008 softball season.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Phillip Casinelli from a supplemental coaching contract, effective at the end of the 2008 softball season.

¯ Accepted the resignation of Roger Ellis, psychologist, effective at the end of the school year for retirement purposes.

¯ Approved Melinda Young as Educational Excellence coordinator for the 2008-09 school year.

¯ Approved Ronald Salvino for supplemental printing for a maximum of 100 hours at $12.50 per hour.

¯ Approved Terra McDonald as a summer school aide and Kimberly Pavlik as summer school teacher for the “A Touch of Class” program.

¯ Approved to enter into a contract with Cain Realtors & Auctioneers for selling four possible schools July 11.

¯ Authorized the treasurer to accept bids to repair the elevator at the high school.

¯ Accepted the following bids for the high school’s weight room, to be used by all students: Power Lift, weight equipment, $56,613; Life Fitness, weight equipment, $24,813; and the Equipment Guys, flooring installation, $15,733. Ranallo said there is approximately $90,000 in donations that will be used to fund the project.

¯ Appointed Ryan Slaybaugh to the certified staff.

¯ Approved the following supplemental contracts for the 2008-09 school year: Fred Heatherington, athletic director and head baseball coach; Robert Cornelius, athletic trainer; Joe Biasi, golf coach; Paul Duffy, middle school boys basketball and track coach; Danny Filtz, middle school coach; Jeff Petrelle, middle school coach; Phillip Casinelli, head girls basketball coach; Bryan Mills, middle school head football coach; John Abram, middle school coach; Steve Herring, middle school coach; David Ziarko, head softball coach; Rick Camilletti, fitness and varsity assistant coach; Michael Blackburn, head wrestling and varsity assistant coach; Michael Haney, varsity assistant coach and head basketball coach; Anthony Pierro, assistant varsity basketball coach, elementary sports coordinator; Joseph Pierro, varsity assistant coach and assistant varsity baseball coach; Robert Lamantia, varsity assistant coach and assistant track coach; Rinaldo Saccoccia, varsity assistant coach and Harding wrestling; Ryan Slaybaugh, varsity assistant coach and assistant track; Gus DiMarzio, varsity assistant coach and middle school basketball; Jason Kernahan, varsity assistant coach and head track coach; Debra Straka, assistant track coach; Shauna Moore, middle school coach; Anthony DeFrances, middle school coach; Charles Kokiko, tennis coach; Deanna Beall, head girls soccer coach; Greg Bowers, head soccer and basketball coach; Kathy McGrath, head volleyball coach, high school assistant girls basketball coach; and Dennis McGrath, assistant high school volleyball coach.

(Ghrist can be contacted at

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