By Nancy Schaar
CARROLLTON – A beautiful blue sky, 80-degree temperatures and a cool breeze set the backdrop for the ground breaking ceremony to begin the construction of a new school for Carrollton Exempted Village School District.
Dr. David Quattrochi, school superintendent, welcomed board members, staff, students, county commissioners and representatives from Carroll County Energy.
Quattrochi said he was very discouraged when he first came to the district and was told “you’ll never pass a levy to get a new school.”
“And then two years ago, a miracle from Boston showed up at my door step,” said Quattrochi.
Sixty-one percent of the $38 million building project is being provided by Carroll County Energy, the miracle from Boston, which will be paid to the district at $1.3 million for 30 years.
County Commissioner President Jeff Ohler said he remembers the first time he, Quattrochi, and a few others met with Jonathan Winslow from Advanced Power. Ohler said he thought that Quattrochi might lead up to asking for help with the school but was shocked when Winslow asked Quattrochi what his company could do to help, what did they need? Quattrochi answered by saying, a new school. Ohler said Winslow was surprised but then it all worked out.
“This is all made possible because of Carroll County Energy, the commissioners, the Board of Education, Washington Township trustees and the village of Carrollton representatives. We had several conversations and meetings with Ohler and Commissioner Robert Wirkner. They truly had our back and for that we are grateful. Mr. Winslow stood true to his word,” stated Quattrochi.
Quattrochi said they are all excited for the students who will have an opportunity to learn in a 21st century facility. Quattrochi thanked the school board for being visionaries, Treasurer Roxanne Mazur and Patrick King from Stifle Investments, stating it was their hard work and knowledge that secured the unvoted bonds to make this dream possible.
Merritt Brown, facility manager of Carroll County Energy, said this is the first time he has been involved in the building of a new school.
“Our local schools are the foundation or our professional lives. A school is a symbol of pride for the students who attend it and is an anchor for the families that surround it. It takes more than new classrooms to make a school. It takes educators with caring and commitment, technology integration and 21st century teaching programs. As a member of the community, Carroll County Energy is proud to contribute to this project,” said Brown.
Carroll County Energy site construction manager Mike Murphy said this type of agreement with a school district and county officials has never been done before. He said it was a new experience.
“Diverting tax money directly to a school district is unique. At first, the state said it couldn’t be done. But just because it hadn’t been done before wasn’t a good enough reason not to do it,” said Murphy.
Murphy said Carrollton is the first but not the last. The same type of agreement is happening now at Wellsville.
Director of Programs Ed Robinson acknowledged the construction management team of Shook-Touchstone, the architecture and design team of Lesko and Associates and the project design and construction management team of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
“Use this building to send the message that education is important to you and that it is valued and serves as a lighthouse beacon for this community,” stated Robinson.
Board President Rose Seck said she truly believes if you have hope and believe long enough, your hopes and dreams can come true.
“A spirit of teamwork was exemplified and all your efforts made things happen. You made a difference,” said Seck.
Seck quoted the words from a song, Greatest Love of All. “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride to make it easier. Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”
There were three sections to the groundbreaking ceremony. The school held a canned food drive and the winners from kindergarten to sixth grade were the first to dig a shovel of dirt. The second group included students from the middle and high school.
The third group included commissioners, school board members and Carroll County Energy officials.
Bulldozers are set to arrive in June and plans are to hold classes in the new building in the fall of 2019.
Representatives from Governor John Kasich’s office, U. S. Representative Bill Johnson and Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson’s office presented proclamations to Quattrochi honoring the ground breaking ceremony.
Music was provided by the Carrollton High School band. A social hour was held prior to the ceremony in the POWER building and refreshments were served.