Whitehall News

Etna Road school's A/C unit

Neighbors complain that noise is too loud

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Parts are on order for a faulty air-conditioning unit at the new Etna Road Elementary School, according to a Ruscilli Construction representative who is overseeing the Whitehall City School District's construction plan.

At least two school board members said they have received calls and inquiries from neighbors surrounding the school, complaining that the faulty unit is excessively loud.

Because of the cooler temperatures, though, the unit has not been running and has been generally quiet.

The recent update from Craig Kertesz, project manager, was prompted by ongoing inquiries from board members who are hoping the issue would be resolved soon. At least one board member brought up the topic during this month's regular board meeting Nov. 8.

According to Kertesz, the unit began to have problems not long after delivery this summer, which he called "not unusual."

Instead of replacing the unit though, the supplier, Johnson Controls, ordered new parts and is awaiting delivery.

Kertesz said because the reorder involves specialty parts, a long lead time is expected for their arrival.

"I don't have a time line yet," Kertesz said.

Whitehall school board vice president Ronda Howard has inquired about the faulty unit for two months now. She and board president Walter Armes said they have fielded questions from neighbors who were bothered by the unit's loudness.

"It's been an ongoing problem," Armes said. "But everyone's working on it. It will be resolved."

In other matters, board member Blythe Wood expressed concerns last week about problems teachers are having with new interactive white boards installed in the new schools, namely a distracting clicking noise every time someone uses a board's electronic pen.

Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy agreed, saying she also has heard complaints from teachers and that the district is looking into a solution.

Wood speculated that the problem was the result of purchasing a cheaper model of the most popular white-board brand.

Dobbert-Meloy said the teachers had chosen to purchase SMART projectors rather than SMART Boards. But because the majority of the money for the project came from the state, the Ohio Schools Facility Commission required the district to go with the lowest, fairest bidder.

Both Wood and Howard also asked how much formal training teachers have received on the new technology.

Dobbert-Meloy said she would arrange for a demonstration next month with the district's technology director when the school board holds its regular monthly meeting.

The meeting will be held at the new Rosemore Middle School on Thursday, Dec. 13, rather than at the district's administrative offices.

In other news, board members unanimously approved the resignation of Sean Dahl, president of the district's local Ohio Association of Public School Employees union, following a short closed-door session. Dahl has accepted a position with OAPSE at the state level.

Both Dobbert-Meloy and Armes praised Dahl for his work in Whitehall.

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