Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do you think it's time to replace a 1915 schoolhouse?

Let’s get something straight.

The Dover-New Philadelphia community is just that – one community. And as a citizen of that community, I’ll endorse any new construction or renovation of school facilities in either city when the other option is doing nothing.

Most of our elementary and secondary schools are decrepit, outdated and in need of serious renovation, if not demolition.

The exception might be New Philadelphia High, which was renovated after a fire in the early 1990s. But that’s already been more than 20 years ago and a lot has transpired, technologically speaking.

So, if Dover’s new plan for a renovated high school ends up on the ballot I’ll support it even if it falls short of what we need.

According to the Times-Reporter, that plan includes replacement of the Fifth Street wing, which was built 97 years ago in 1915.

Women weren’t allowed to vote in 1915. Construction of the Lincoln Memorial was just getting under way. And across the pond, war was raging through Europe -- remember the Lusitania!

For goodness sakes, we’re educating the children of the 21st century in a building that’s been around longer than the Lincoln Memorial.

Ideally, I would have liked to see the school district make a trade with the city. Relocate the tennis courts and a couple of ballparks and build a new high school adjacent to the middle school, taking advantage of the $9.4 million the state has offered for such a project.

The city could have assumed control of the high school property, repurposing its use in any number of ways.
If the city’s administration and City Council would have agreed, Dover could have created a campus with an architecturally pleasing facility (replacing all the chain-link fence that fronts N. Wooster Ave.) that would have provided plenty of parking around back and technology inside.

After a meeting last week, it appears nostalgic Dover citizens want to kiss off the state aid in favor of a partial construction-reconstruction project on the old downtown site at a cost of about $26.6 million.

Certainly, if that issue would pass, it’s a lot better than doing nothing. And perhaps that would keep at least some prospective homeowners from heading north to Jackson Township and North Canton rather than to build or buy in Dover. A primary consideration for most homebuyers is the quality of the schools.

New Philadelphia is about due for a similar offer from the state. I’m curious whether that city’s citizens will look at Dover’s failure to build a new school on a new site as a challenge, or will they follow suit and scream,

“What part of ‘no’ don’t they understand?”

We’ll see.

OK, last week I said no more politics after being stung by Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded conversation with supporters at a fundraiser.

How can I not discuss politics with a little more than a month to go in what pundits are calling … well, the most important presidential election since the last one?

(OK, that’s what I’m saying.)

No matter who wins the election, I think we need to make a pledge in this country. We have to quit the hate because in the next four years, we’ve got to get something done in this country.

Memo to Congress: This means you.

This current Congress, which has recessed until after the Nov. 6 election without getting hardly anything accomplished this term, is being called the worst collection of legislators ever.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was quoted in numerous publications as saying members were “leaving town in disgrace.”

Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for non-partisan Public Citizen, said, “I’ve never seen Capitol Hill work so poorly.”

After this election is over, those elected must be made to understand that their job is to solve our problems.

And that means working with the guys across the aisle. Anything short of that is un-American.

Read more from Dick Farrell at

No comments: