More than half the 30 buildings in the South-Western City School District were built during or prior to the 1950s, and the district has accumulated $70 million worth of maintenance needs.

More than half the 30 buildings in the South-Western City School District were built during or prior to the 1950s, and the district has accumulated $70 million worth of maintenance needs.

The district typically receives $1 million annually from permanent improvement funds that go toward “deferred” maintenance, which is postponed, said facilities coordinator Mark Waller.

“The math doesn’t work out. We will never catch up,” he said.

While many district buildings look good from the outside, “Their infrastructure is falling apart,” Waller said.

Many buildings have electrical systems insufficient to support current technology or required classroom appliances, Waller said.

Many buildings built in the 1950s have classrooms with a maximum of two electrical outlets. The maintenance department is called daily to classrooms at various buildings to reset breakers or transfer electrical loads from one circuit to another to cover needs and requirements, he said.

Maintenance work sometimes stops classes for 20 minutes or even up to a full day, depending on the job required.

Plumbing issues also plague district buildings. Many water mains in different buildings need to be replaced, Waller said. Piping systems have scale buildup, and the resulting restricted water flow affects ice machines, kitchen equipment, water fountains and restrooms. The school staff includes two full-time plumbers who respond to service calls daily.

More than 50 percent of the buildings have no air conditioning. Many have windows that don’t operate correctly and parts for the windows are unavailable. Many buildings are behind on their roof replacement schedules. Money isn’t available to do a partial replacement as needed, resulting in roof leaks.

“All of our classrooms are small in size and do not provide the sufficient space for normal classroom activities,” Waller said. These classrooms lack proper storage for lockers and cubbies. Newer, larger classrooms have more outlets and better use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, he said.

Waller estimated the older classrooms are about 10 percent smaller than the district’s newer classrooms. Still, the eight district buildings built from 1999 to 2003 don’t meet current Ohio School Facilities Commission standards.