Austintown school buildings on schedule

AUSTINTOWN – With the demolition of Watson Elementary School nearly complete, the Austintown School District hopes that the bad weather will continue to hold off and construction of its new buildings will remain on schedule.

“It’s going really well,” said Superintendent Vincent Colaluca, who added that the district hopes to collect the late-site package bids within a couple of weeks.

The new buildings – one for grades kindergarten to 2 and the other for grades 3 to 5 – are being constructed on property behind Austintown Fitch High School on an 83-acre campus.

The district expects to be able to occupy the buildings later this year when all of the district’s buildings will operate on one central campus.

Hammond Construction, the firm coordinating and overseeing the project, will soon begin work on the parking lots.

“That will be the final phase to make sure we get into the new buildings on time,” Colaluca said, adding that the process involving abatement of the asbestos has gone well.

“Obviously, the weather’s helped. We just need the cooperation of Mother Nature for the parking lot, and we’ll be good,” he said.

Residents last year passed a bond issue agreeing to pay for 53 percent of the $50.3 million construction project, with the state kicking in the other 47 percent, after rejecting the district’s initial request for a bond / levy proposal.

The dedication ceremony for the new school buildings will be held Oct. 6.