Union’s location is a concern to educators

| June 21, 2016

WARSAW – One of the main concerns with Union Elementary School is how long it would take first responders to get there in case of an emergency.

“We’ve been told it would take deputies a minimum of 20 minutes to get here and some of the other first responders a little longer,” said Jarred Renner, dean of students at Union and Warsaw elementary schools.

Staff also does not like that their entry doors are right by the stairwells.

“Someone could easily get up and down the stairs, but if our buzzers go off and the staff doesn’t recognize the person, they run down the hall to the stairway to see who they are,” Renner said.

That, however, is not the end of their safety issues. Their MARX Radio doesn’t always work, which causes communication problems between busses and the office and cell phone coverage is spotty.

Union is one of River View Local School District’s four elementary schools that have outlived their purpose for educating children. The district is working on a building project that will include closing the current elementary schools and constructing one new one attached to the junior high and making renovations to the junior high and high school. The project will be partially funded by a bond that will be voted on by the community during a special election on Tuesday, Aug. 2 and by money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Like most of the elementary schools in the district, Union is not handicapped accessible. Renner said anyone in their area who can’t get up and down steps would have to be bused to Warsaw.

Another problem at the school is the plumbing.

“The janitors have to flush all the toilets every day or we get really dark water in them,” Renner said.

Toilets in the girls’ restroom have been removed due to plumbing issues and in the boys’ restroom the urinals leak, stalls are blocked off and toilets get clogged easily.

In the kitchen, water leaks in through the vent above the grill and causes rust issues and there is no dishwasher because parts for it were no longer available.

Down the hall the ceiling just outside the music room is falling down and last year a piece of it almost fell on a student. Inside the room there are only outlets in the front so cords must run across the room for any equipment that needs plugged in.

On the outside of the school the window flashings are rusting and pulling away from the windows. In April they also had a grease trap for the septic system collapse that caused the need for a 12 foot by 25 foot hole to be dug. The trap couldn’t be replaced because it was so corroded that a new one had to be run, which caused a disruption in students being picked up.

In the winter it is hard to regulate the temperature in the building. Some will be in the 70s and 80s and some will be in the 60s.

“There is one room that is 85 degrees all year long,” Renner said. “You can shut the vent and block the heat, but it still stays 85 in there.”

Union also has wiring issues.

“There is conduit everywhere and that had to be done to get electricity and wiring where it was needed,” Renner said.

It also is not ideal that the fifth and sixth graders are in a separate building not attached to the main one.

“They have to go back and forth for things like music, art, PE, and the library in all conditions like rain, sleet and lighting,” Renner said.

Just like at the other schools in River View’s district, staff does an amazing job of maintaining Union, but every year more and more problems occur or the same ones are being patched, forcing the district to spend more and more money on maintaining them.

Editor’s note: This is the third part in a series of stories highlighting the school buildings in River View’s district.

River View Local School Building Project

Problem: The current buildings have served the district well for a century, but they have become too outdated, inefficient and expensive to operate.

Solution: Close all four existing elementary buildings and place them in one new building that will attach to the existing junior high school. The junior high school and high school also will be renovated to today’s codes and the Ohio School Facilities Commission standards. Nineteen percent of the project will be paid for by the Ohio School Facilities Commission and the rest will be funded through a bond issue that will be voted on during a special election on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Cost of the solution: The state’s share is $9,020,226 and the local share is $43,456,780. The bond to be voted on is 5.20 mils. The cost to the owner of a home valued at $102,500 is: $186.57 annually; $15.55 monthly; $3.59 weekly; and $0.51 daily.

A look at Union Elementary School

Year built: 1939

Renovations: 1949 and 1958

Current enrollment: 168






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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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