Streetsboro -- Streetsboro High School is out of space -- for both students and additional electric equipment.
With or without approval of a bond issue Nov. 5 that would pay for a new high school and upgraded facilities district-wide, electricity will need to be addressed at the high school, along with other infrastructure.
With approval of the bond, the electricity would be updated to meet current state standards, but something may need to be done sooner, according to Streetsboro High School Principal Eric Rauschkolb, who said the state is requiring end of course exams be administered on computers next year.
"We are going to need more computer lab space," he said. "We don't have space to implement any more computer labs."
Even if there were space, Dave Clark, custodian at the high school, said the current electric supply won't support another lab.
"We're right at the teetering point," he said. "If we had to put a whole computer lab in with air [conditioning], we don't have the supply for that; we just don't. I'm at the point now where I'm leery of putting another air conditioning unit in a window."
Clark said three lines enter the building from an electrical pole outside the building. Because of the electrical load on the system, he said there was a small electrical fire at the pole in 2011.
"The electrical coming in here is nowhere near the demands we need for this building," said Clark. "It was OK back in the '60s."
Rauschkolb said the building's repairs are difficult to keep up with.
"Dave does a fantastic job of maintaining a building in this poor a condition," he said.
Clark said the building's plumbing is hard to keep maintained, as well.
"We've got a bunch of faucets that are obsolete," he said. In the girls' locker room, there's at least one leaky shower head, a leaky sink and two shower stalls without shower heads.
In several older science labs, sinks and gas sources don't work anymore, said Clark.
There are many locations in the building where settling has cracked floors and walls, he added. In some locations, floors have settled up to 4 or 5 inches.
"We've got bricks that are crumbling and doors that aren't square anymore and don't close properly," said Clark.
Rauschkolb said the condition of the building and its infrastructure has begun degrading education.
"We had a transformer blow a week ago, so we were at half power or no power for a significant part of the day," he said Oct. 18.
Inconveniences due to electrical outages go beyond working in a darkened room, he said.
"Lighting is not the major issue," he said. "Whenever power goes out, we've got no phones and no Internet. Nowadays, we don't have people using chalkboards and kids taking notes in their notebooks."
Lesson plans, tests, other assessments and student work and more are inaccessible during outages, he said.
"It really throws a monkey wrench into everything a teacher was planning to do that day," he said. "It just takes us back to the '50s educationally when the power goes out. Students are kind of on-edge and ticked off whenever we have an interruption like that."
Of all the problems with the current facility, though, Rauschkolb said lack of air conditioning presents the largest obstacle to learning.
"When we have days that are 80 to 85 degrees, in some classrooms it's 90 degrees because they don't have windows, so there's no fresh air flow into those classrooms," he said. "That just makes it very hard for teachers to be enthusiastic and makes it very hard for students to concentrate on what they're taught because they're really just sweating to death."
Space is a problem at the high school, too, he said. There are four trailers including seven classrooms behind the school, and more may need to be added before a new high school can be built.
"I would think we could justify another trailer next year," he said. "We're constantly looking for creative ways to make space in this building, using what was meant to be an office as classroom space or tutoring space. Currently, we have a converted hallway that's serving as our attendance office. We've also discussed using other hallways as office or classroom space because we're simply out of room."
The trailers represent added maintenance work because sidewalks need to be cleared of snow. But, more importantly, said Rauschkolb, they represent a security problem.
"It presents a real gap in security here in our building that we have students going in and out of the building throughout the day," he said.
Additionally, Clark said some of the trailers themselves are beginning to wear out.
Rauschkolb also said Streetsboro High School's theater program would benefit from an 800-seat auditorium. Currently, teacher Jim Boardwine takes up one of the trailers with his classes.
The track, Rauschkolb said, is "just embarrassing." Considering the district's last home meet was in the late 1990s, according to Track Coach Tom Fesemeyer, and practices are at Ravenna's track, the district's athletes fare remarkably well, sending runners and field event competitors to district state tournaments in recent years, said Rauschkolb.
Taken together, the lack of space, poor condition and outdated infrastructure adds up to a less rich educational experience for students, said Rauschkolb.
"Whenever we think about expanding programming, adding additional courses, potentially adding a teacher or two for those courses, we are basically out of space at the high school," he said. "Whenever we think of adding anything, we have to do it in the context of what we have."
Stories focusing on other school buildings are also available:
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens