An ad hoc committee charged with assessing the condition of Strongsville's school facilities has published an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the district's buildings.
Duct-taped carpet, freezing classrooms, damaged ceiling tiles and dilapidated furniture are among the common problems highlighted in the report.
The district was already aware of many of the issues after a professional analysis a year ago, but the Facilities Task Force asked teachers and other staff to talk about the worst maintenance issues they encounter in a typical day.
Here is a small sampling of staff comments from some of the buildings. The full report is on the school district's website (PDF Download). Or check out the pdf attached to this story.
"The ceilings in the math department are horrible. The whole facility is way too small for our students (café, gym, aud.) the tight hallways make it seem like cattle are being herded from place to place."
"The grossest thing about the women’s restroom is the lack of ceiling tiles. The pipes and venting that run through the building are open and visible. Rumor has it that a mouse fell out of the ceiling and onto a staff member while she was in the restroom. Our hallways are also lacking ceiling tiles. It just makes the school look run down."
"Pavement in parking lot is uneven, crosswalks need to be repainted, and landscaping needs updating. This building is in deplorable shape, especially on the East side, thinking I’m back in Cleveland."
"Technology...What is that? I taught a methods class at a local college and the students about to do student teaching stated '...We hear Strongsville has very little technology to use.'"
"Student restroom condition is so horrible that many students will not use the school restrooms, they wait until they get home. This is wrong. The rooms smell and look terrible. .....it reflects on the community."
"Room 103 has no door and is very unsafe. My canvas wall in the same room is all grunged-up with pen marks and writing. My carpet is dirty and has been duct taped down the center, the heating system is inconsistent throughout the year."
"The ceiling at Albion leaks often, especially in the media center. We have lost materials due to water damage and last year we had to cover the paperback book collection with plastic to protect them. We don’t have the budget to replace lost materials."
"Cold water at all times in the student restrooms. Not all of the sinks work, sidewalks are cracked and have puddles forming on them, which turns to ice in the winter."
"Carpet in hallway is torn, worn, wrinkled, rippled and can cause tripping."
"PA system is old and cannot be heard in many areas and not understood in most."
"Old electric circuits have far too many power strips plugged into outlets."
"Cannot hear or understand fire, tornado or other alarms or emergency announcements."
"Furniture is coming apart and dangerous and unstable to sit on throughout the building."
New Middle School?
The task force's work was under way when school and city officials proposed the idea of putting a bond issue on the ballot in November and fix some of the probems in the existing buildings.
The committee, which had intended to present the Strongsville School Board with a priority list of needs in the buildings, is now also helping the district on its bond issue study.
A series of four public meetings held this week and last sought input from residents on -- a smaller one to build a middle school and make some of the repairs to other buildings, or a larger one that would cover most of the repairs and add better technology.
We discovered that we have a very caring staff which has been able to work wonders with old technology, facilities that leak, are frequently too hot or too cold, are cracked, have old carpet, have made use of duct tape as a means of repairing things way too often, and computers that tend to be on the older side. Our staff has purchased their own chairs, their own laptops and their own supplies to do their jobs to the best of their ability.