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Schools work out wellness center plans

Warren board enters into $986K contract with architect

WARREN — The Warren Board of Education has approved a contract for the early stages of the planned recreation / wellness center officials want to see completed by fall 2023.

The board on Tuesday entered into an agreement with Phillips Sekanick Architects Inc. of Warren at $986,000 for project cost analysis for the building to be located in the eastern corner of the Warren G. Harding High School property in the athletic wing.

“This will help us move forward to the next step in this process,” Superintendent Steve Chiaro said.

The goal is to break ground for the building in winter 2022 and have it completed in fall 2023.

Chiaro said the new building would connect to the weight / exercise athletic building and go to where the band shell is located, and will include the band shell at one side.

School officials have discussed a multiuse community recreation center for the district for several years. It could include locker rooms, concession areas, a 200-meter indoor walking track, a wellness area and the new bandshell.

Officials said the project would come at no additional cost to taxpayers.

In other business, Chiaro and other district officials will meet with graduates from the former Warren Western Reserve High School who want to add a memorial area to honor the school. The memorial would be near the Harding facade off Elm Road.

He said the group began discussing the idea for a marker more than eight years ago and has been raising funds.

“A group of individuals who graduated from Warren Western Reserve approached the prior superintendent and the board if they would be able to put a little memorial park commemorating Warren Western Reserve on the grassy area south of the current Harding facade,” he said.

Officials plan to meet with the graduates to get an update on their vision and the money raised so far.

In 2016, the Warren Western Reserve Memorial Committee discussed raising money to erect a Raider statue, the school mascot, near the corner of Elm Road and Atlantic Street.

Mark Clawges, a WWR Memorial Committee member / treasurer and Class of 1968 graduate, said previously the group aims to raise $450,000 for project that then included $22,000 to build a small park with benches and a brick walkway for the bronze Raider statue.

Western Reserve opened in fall 1966 off Loveless Avenue SW, but was converted to a middle school in 1990 when the two city high schools were consolidated at Harding. Western Reserve was torn down in 2010; it had graduating classes from 1967 to 1990.

Committee members said they had been to class reunions to get donations and collect Raider memorabilia.

As for the start of the 2021-22 year, Chiaro said he and other schools superintendents are waiting to hear from the Ohio Department of Health next week as well as local health officials on guidelines for students and staff.

“We are preparing for the opening of school next month but with COVID numbers increasing again, we have to wait to see what the health officials will say,” he said.

Chiaro said he and other Trumbull County school administrators are to get together in early August with health officials to see what guidelines will be in place.

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