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Time runs out on school talks

Even though the White Hall School District is closing Redfield Middle School at the end of the school year, the group trying to save the building has voiced hopes of using it as a community center or opening an charter school.

However, the Save Redfield Middle School organization, after a recent inspection, discovered what members termed “rotten, moldy, and deplorable conditions.” The ad hoc group says the problems stem from years of neglect and shoddy repair work by the White Hall district.

Linda Banks, a group member, maintains that unless hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations are made, the building will have to be demolished.

Banks and several others in the Redfield community cherish the school and would like to repurpose the building. “We’re not going to give up,” she said. “We want to continue to have programs and a place where our children can have sports and things like that.”

However, Todd Dobbins, chairman of the group, says none of that can happen with a flooded cellar, leaking roof, no hot water in the bathrooms, and mold and asbestos issues.

“This is not what I call maintained,” he told The Progress. “It’s deplorable.”

Superintendent Larry Smith acknowledges the decision to close Redfield Middle School is about money, and the cost to keep up the building is too much. But Dobbins says it’s going to cost the district money to tear the building down and conditions never should have gotten this bad. “This community has always been the red-headed stepchild,” he said.

If the allegations raised by members of the ad hoc group are accurate, the White Hall district will incur considerable expanse to clean up the site.

We recommend an independent contractor or agency conduct an analysis of the building and contents. The district has the legal responsibility to clarify the issues raised.