Heating Units Arrive At River High School

Heating system components arrived at River High School a few days ago, and officials hope they will be in operation this week.

Contractors have been renovating the original 1956 building and its 1968 addition for months, even while the school’s 230 students have been attending classes. But the heating and cooling contractor has had difficulty getting new equipment delivered, said Switzerland of Ohio Local Superintendent Larry Elliott, prompting the use of electric heaters in classrooms.

Some in the Switzerland of Ohio community have expressed concern about temperatures in classrooms, saying students were forced to wear coats or wrap themselves in blankets to stay warm during class. District officials have responded that temperatures were being monitored and averaged in the 60s, even on chilly autumn days.

Principal Ed Trifonoff said the heating system arrived by truck last week. A crane was used at the site Wednesday to put condensing units on the main roof. On Thursday, the main unit for heating the gymnasium and new cafeteria were unloaded from a truck, but the components were not yet hooked up to natural gas or electrical supply lines.

Trifonoff was optimistic the units would be in service soon, saying contractors told him they could be operational early this week.

“I’m just looking to the positives now … ,” Trifonoff said. “The new boilers will be fired up shortly. I take the negatives seriously but try to think about the positives.”

Part of an $86 million district-wide construction project, the renovation of River High School is only part of the work going on at that campus. Contractors also are building a new Hannibal/Sardis elementary school adjacent to the high school.

Voters in 2009 approved a $33 million levy, while the Ohio School Facilities Commission contributed $53 million for the district-wide project. A new Beallsville elementary/high school, a new Monroe Central High School and a new Woodsfield Elementary already have been completed. A new Powhatan Point Elementary School is under construction, and a new Skyvue Elementary also will be built.

The Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the board office in Woodsfield and is expected to consider the situation at River and whether students should remain in the building while the work continues.