Ringgold holds public hearing on Finleyville school closing

March 15, 2017
Observer-Reporter Ringgold School Board held a public hearing in another step toward closing the district’s middle school in Finleyville.

NEW EAGLE – Ringgold School District took another step Wednesday to formally close an aging middle school in anticipation of the completion of a new building to replace it in the fall.

The district held a public hearing that day on closing Ringgold Middle School, which was built in the 1960s on pyritic soil that heaves and damages the building along Route 88 in Finleyville.

“All of the funding is in place at this point,” Ringgold finance director Randy Skrinjorich said during the hearing in regard to the $35-million cost to build the new school in Carroll Township.

Skrinjorich also said all of the tax increases are in the budget to pay for the new school along Route 136 next to the district’s high school.

The district has made many costly repairs to the Finleyville school since 1983, and structural inspections have shown that, while the building is safe to occupy, it continues to move.

Following years of debate, often contentious, the board voted in 2014 to proceed with construction of the new school for grades 5 though 8.

Construction began in April 2016 on the two-story, 141,962-square-foot building that overlooks a scenic evergreen forest. It will have above the entrance a media center/library with three walls of windows and at least 50 classrooms.

No one from the public gave testimony during the hearing in the district’s administration building in New Eagle.

The district will have another hearing on the school closing in June to comply with state regulations.

District Superintendent Karen Polkabla said the school board has yet to finalize a plan for the Finleyville property after the school closes.

In other business Wednesday, the school board authorized a $12,820 geotechnical engineering study to determine the cause of water that has seeped from a steep hillside creating a small wetlands at the football stadium next to the high school. The study also will recommend a solution to the problem.

“There’s been a wetlands at the end of that stadium for a long time,” board president William Stein Jr. said.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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