Perkins High School is 'serious health and safety hazard'

A third independent assessment of Perkins High School echoes the first two: To keep the building safe, modern and efficient, it's cheaper to rebuild, not renovate.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jan 24, 2013

The building, constructed in 1905, is a "serious health and safety hazard" in need of speedy replacement, according to a recent report from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

Asbestos, flooding, inadequate fire alarms and a crawl space covered in raw sewage are just a few reasons the facilities commission is urging Perkins to construct a new high school as quickly as possible. 

"Essentially, the report says 'What are you waiting for? Build,'" superintendent Jim Gunner said. "I'm waiting for money, for the right financial alignment to make it happen."

A new building and its landscaping would likely cost $50 million, Gunner said. It would be used for both junior high and high school students.

For more on the report, pick up a copy of Thursday's Register and look at the PDF below.


Also, stop back at noon today for Between the Lines, a live public affairs program, with guest Jim Gunner. There will be a live chat room where viewers can ask questions about the building project and proposed levies. We will get to as many questions as we can during the duration of the show.




Gunner needs to stop plugging up the toilets!


BUT, They have a GREAT football stadium, I guess we can all see where the priorities of the School Board stand......what a joke!


With the extremely scaled down plan (from $100 million to $10 million), I'm seeing the benefit of a new high school. I just don't think this leader is the person to do it.


But wait.....isn't he (and the board) the folks that developed the "scaled down" plan?


I'll give them some credit for scaling down the plan in response to the community saying no to the last levy and the funding plan. But frankly, the fact that they even suggested a $100 million dollar facility for this community in these economic times tells me how out of touch they are. Maybe some people are pleased that they responded to the community's wishes, but it troubles me that they missed the mark the first time around by $90 million. That isn't a small miscalculation. That represents a significant divide. These are the very kind of things that don't inspire trust and confidence.

Tell it how it is.

Why do people hate Perkins and Dr. Gunner if 550 students elect to attend there from outside the district and find their own way to get there? Why are people upset that the district seeks ways to bring in money from the outside with open enrollment? Why do most superintendents last only 3-4 years at a district? I don't think people on here will be happy unless the school is run into the ground first. If the superintendent wanted the easy way to solve this he would not want to put up a new building and would just live out the remainder of his days signing his name without dealing with the old depleted buildings.
VOTE YES to replace this high school that is past its prime or
VOTE NO if you have a bone to pick with the superintendent. Because that will quickly solve the district's problems.


I have to agree with TIHIS. Everything this person is saying is absolutely right. You don't vote yes or no because of the person running things. You vote according to what you think needs to be done for the kids and the school district. It is just that simple. The person running things is 'after the fact'. This isn't a popularity contest, its about the future of the children who go to the school, about the district in which your children are educated.

You people in Perkins are lucky. You have a great district, a bunch of nice kids for the majority and an affluent community on which to draw. Your tax base is relatively high and you really don't have too much trouble out there. All of this is positive. To read some of what you write, you would think that it is bad. What you write is mostly complaints about one person, not about the community itself.

How unfortunte it would be to let ONE person influence or stop something as great as a new school for kids that really need it. Especially in a community where it can be afforded, where it can be appreciated and where it is so necessary.

Vote for it, let it happen. Don't let one person stop that just because you don't happen to like that person very much.

The kids are worth far more than that. Just my humble opinion.


The voter's told this school board NO a few years ago about paying a higher tax for a new school. The board basicly Said, screw what the voters want, we will force them to have to vote FOR WHAT WE WANT, Thats what this is about. They went and moved money around out of an operatiing budget, so now they can say we dont have anough money operate. There is no trust for them. A few years ago voters were told that if they didnt vote yes for the levy there will be no way the board would EVER be able to build a new school with out the state money that was availible at that time, well voters said NO. Again the BOARD SAID SCREW THE VOTERS WE WANT A NEW SHCOOL NO MATTER WHAT. MR Gunner is the head of the board, Hell he gets milage to drive here since he dose not live in the TWP. to pay for the school he wants US to pay for. This is deeper then just not liking someone.


Thank you for the feedback and information. I do understand what you are a point. No one likes to have lies told to them. Funny how there are funds for what some want and not what others want. That happens a great deal.

I read further down and your board, since 2000 has had 4 different supers, if I read correctly? That is a lot of different people leading. No wonder people aren't up to snuff on what is happening.

But I will stand by what I said on your community and add one more thing, you tax base is broad out there. You have a great deal of tax base from waterparks, restaurants and the mall, do you not? That should help some, plus the old KBI. It isn't as if you are penniless.

I just hope that you can all see you could afford some things you may not think you can.

I have no vested interest out there as yet, unless we move there. If we do, I will vote YES for a school levy. Without hesitation. I have no qualms about it. The kids need a new school and I just feel it is the right thing to do. My kids are grown and my grandkids all go to Margaretta. But I would support the Perkins kids for the need of it and not stand in the way of Perkins kids getting what they needed. Not now and not ever. Even on a fixed income like we will be. That isn't in my nature or my husband's nature to be that selfish. Not saying any of you are.


For the record, it is not about popularity. I've said this before, Gunner and the current BOE have a history of not executing plans well. That is why I do not support them spearheading this plan.


Who would you consider to spearhead he plan? Would you consider a group of parents to lead? Or perhaps a combined BOE/Parents group?




Times have changed. Many organizations have accepted and embraced change to survive and thrive.

We cannot afford the many fiefdoms of school districts any longer.

The time is now for a serious, citizen managed examination of the question of district consolidation.


Are you talking about a possible consideration of combining a school district with Sandusky? If that is the case, why not go a step further and consider doing an entire consolidation of the entire communities?

We have no permanent chief of police....yours is pretty good. Combine forces. You have good perkins twp trustees....take our best three commissioners (or better yet ELECT THREE commissioner) and add them to your trustees, add our fire department to yours, your city department to yours. (you can let us in how you do such a great job getting your snow plowers out there so fast), etc. and just take off with it. How sweet is that.

There is ONE poster on here who thinks Sandusky is heading for broke city anyway and there are several people in town who want to fire our Ms Ard, so that would please them.

Combine the incomes and away we go.....perfect meshing.

Our high school becomes the new junior high, we build a new high school and HOME FREE.

Besides, you have that new city building...we don't. They could add on before it gets overcrowed and they could add on the county jail. PERFECT

Rename the place through a contest......WONDERFUL.


Many posters are accusing the board and Gunner as being rogue. If my memory serves, there was a survey after the levy failure that revealed that the community was supportive of a new high school but not an entire campus. Thus, the path they are now on. It’s obvious that the need is there. Are they supposed to just pretend these problems away? You cannot keep putting Band-Aids on open wounds. At some point you need replacement.

And how is it that PC, Bellevue, Norwalk, Clyde, South Central, and Western Reserve can all support their new building initiatives but Perkins is attacked so viciously? It just doesn’t make sense.


You raise good points. Also, don't forget New London a few years back with its new school. No business is being conducted "in secret". Anyone who takes the time to attend an open, public meeting every month would know that. Perkins Township hasn't passed a school levy for new tax money since 2000. In the meantime, EHOVE levies, senior citizen levies, metro parks levies, fire dept. levies, health dept. levies and others have all passed new, renewals and/or replacements, so I have trouble buying the economic argument. Don't allow new money, the district does what it must do and brings in millions of dollars from open enrollment, and the same people criticize that move even though it has put off the need for a levy for several years.

There are reasons why people want to send kids to Perkins. I hardly think that would happen if "rogue" superintendents are doing all they can to be deceitful and not keeping what is best for students in mind.

As for personalities in charge. There have been at least four superintendents since 2000-some better than others. I guess all of them have failed the test of character and honesty (although, I'm not sure what the metrics are).


I will tell you that in the case of South Central, the voters were outright lied to. Not to mention, they got 1/2 of what the other districts got for the $$. And, they have had nothing but problems with leaks in the roof, flooding parking lot, etc... I don't blame Perkins voters for being VERY skeptical about this plan. I would look in every dark corner....


Not only that, but they built the school too Small for future enrollment! They were out of room before they even had the school finished!


If anyone knows anyone in Clyde, we have heard that they are having a lot of trouble with money since they built there new school.


I think Building a football field for a million pluse dollers knowing the school needed work ( and they knew ) is being rogue. IF your house leaked crap in the basement, I bet you would fix it before you bought a new car.


I have now read the full report on this. I have to agree with Ladydye. Most of these have been problematical and were left to fester over time. They now have accumulated into a huge ball and I think are being used to Shanghai us voters. Interestingly, some of this stuff written up goes far back into the days of Superintendents past... and I mean wayyyyyy past. So, where was that money going to all these years? Obviously NOT for repairs as these issues still exist and are huge.

Let's go back into time a little and I'll tell you of some of the issues they had that I remember....Let's see...Roofs leaking, broken windows, broken tiles, a faulty and dangerous electrical system, safety rails missing or in need of repair, an auxiliary gym with paint issues, a pool that sometimes emptied out, doors that opened outwards, a fire alarm system that wasn't adequate...OK get the picture? Anyone out there 5, 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago remember any of this stuff? Even worse, why is the High School still plagued by these things? Hey alumni, check out the photos attached to that report because I recognized some of these issues written up in the report and ironically in the same spot for that matter!

Oh and wait...Let's not forget the Asbestos ceilings that were, at one point, painted in the summer by upper HS kids back in the day (This was done long after they linked Asbestos to cancer). I often wondered if any of those young men ever developed any issues later in life. I still remember them wearing those useless face masks that don't protect anything.

How about the summer when they didn't mow the lawns around the district and that was to make a point to us voters?! The grass only got done only because of a letter that was written to the editor of the Register.

Now the reason I bring all this up is to address those who feel that they shouldn't blame the board or Gunner. Consider how long the current board has been active and how long Gunner has been in power. Now ask yourself- If they were TRULY concerned about safety, then why wait until NOW to talk about how unsafe the school is (Particularly the feces lined crawl space)? If there ever was a TRUE concern, then this, now a laundry list, would have been discussed and addressed way before now and taken care of when each of them first occurred.

So it's a, "no," vote from me too. No apologies...just a vote...and if I could vote, "no confidence," I would do that too!


I see your points but I look at it differently. We have a board and super, unlike those of the past, that ARE looking long term. Too long Perkins has put quick fixes on major problems. This board finally said enough is enough. It ends here.

Many have used the football stadium as a negative example. I disagree. It was a great plan. The bleachers were a hazard- two kids and one adult fell through in the final season. In a cost saving approach in the 80’s the base of the track was cheaply installed. The result, a failing track with soft spots. They patched; patched; patched; and patched. But because someone wanted to save $20,000 twenty years ago, the entire track needed to be replaced. The field was a glorified cow pasture in need of major repair.

A private group of motivated individuals approached the school. Said they wanted a first class stadium and would raise half the money. Mission accomplished. We should celebrate a great accomplishment of a public/private partnership, but ,oh no, people just want to hate.

HTB, this is the first time you’re hearing of the cast iron pipes and sewage? Pay attention. It was part of the levy campaign two years ago and in a news letter a year and a half ago.

Hang in there BOE and Gunner. You’re doing the right thing. This blog does not represent everyone. In addition, I think the state contribution is new. Well done. Somehow you were able to move us from the bottom of that list to the top!




What is the scenario that would cause you to vote yes or say something nice about the school district? What are your requirements to cast a positive vote? I am assuming that when you were in school, the local community voted for at least one levy to allow you and your fellow students to enjoy a decent education. If you are old enough to have attended Perkins 40-50 years ago, then you did so in a building that was constructed by the community by people who had long since graduated but saw a need regarding facilities.



OK, the pipes were apart of levy campaign two years ago. However, look at the pictures in that report. They're dated December of 2012. If you're paying attention that was pretty much last month. So, in essence, they let this go for two years? This is why I'm gobsmacked by a school waiting two years and really still not attempting to clean that up. Again, if the board and Gunner were TRULY concerned with safety then heaven and earth would have been moved to at least clean that up or make an attempt to do so. If you're paying attention, you'd know that can be a health hazard.

There's no hate from me...just a NO vote for making NO attempt to clean that up but rather using it for PR purposes! Yes God Bless the BOE and Gunner! Well done, for making it so much easier to vote NO!


READ THE REPORT.......There is nothing structurally wrong with the facility. All problems sited are minor and cosmetic, if you know anything about construction! I can't believe these things haven't been taken care of already. Stop creating new debt in a belief that a new building will make kids smarter. Stop drinking the Cool Aid and wake up. Teachers educate children! They can do it online now! You are investing in a future that has already changed to put up a brand building with new paint, shrubs, and concrete walks all of which have nothing to do with educating our children! VOTE NO not because of Gunner but because nothing has changed. The old building is in such bad shape because of pure neglect! Neglect the taxpayers paid for! The current management can't even take care of an old school and you people want to hand them keys to a new one? WAKE UP.....


Mortar and bricks have never made kids smarter.

Tell it how it is.

What has then you Educational Genius. I would guess that you have all the answers. Donut guy for BOE. He has all of the answers. Where are your solutions. Attend a board meeting and give some feedback. Apply for Superintendent and show all of us how to do it instead of cooperating on this anonymous blog about it.


SITUATION: When your kid turns 16 do you A. go out and buy them a Cadillac, Hummer, or maybe even a brand new mustang, or do you B. look for something used, or do you C. share your vehicle with them?
REMEMBER: The car will only be used to transport the kid from one spot to another, and for this example all cars shall have the same safety standards. If they don't you can easily have a mechanic that everyone pays for install them.

If you chose A. Then vote yes for a levy!

IF you chose B or C then you really need to start questioning the motives of the people managing your school and vote NO until that management is changed!


Donut Shop... yeah Bricks and Mortar do not teach kids. No argument there. But at some point, they do interfere. I think we are at that point. Read below...

Seriously... yeah, your right read the report. I think the point that Gunner and board are making is that the expense of doing all of these repairs is cost prohibited. You might as well build new. You seem to be good at construction. Help me out. How much will this stuff cost?
add more bathrooms
add exhaust to existing bathrooms
I see cracks all over the building (is that not structural? surely that is not cosmetic)
dig up all cast iron pipes and replace
replace hot water heating system throughout the school
remove ALL asbestos ($$$$$$)
add ventilation throughout entire school (ever been on airplane and wonder why you got sick?)
upgrade ALL electrical systems
upgrade all emergency systems
upgrade kitchen systems
widen hallways
change door systems
basement walls cracking
Once you add those up, don't forget to add in the rest. Once you do a remodel of this magnitude EVERYTHING has to come up to current code. Everything has to ADA compliant... every door, every ramp, every hallway, every parking lot. Air conditioning must be added by the new standards. how do you do that to an existing building? Electrical; plumbing, etc.

Fact, building additions in 1905, 1934, 1950, 1958, 1965, and 1978. Unlike buildings in Europe, these buildings were built with no master plan by the lowest bidder at the time. They were NOT built to last. It has been 34 years since the last major remodel. It has outlived its life. Throwing more money at the problem IS A WASTE!

Thank you Gunner and BOE for have the guts to stand up and take your punches. You are doing the right thing!