Editorial: Chardon High School Flood Demonstrates Need for a New Building Bond


Devney Rich

A temporary classroom is set up in the auxiliary gym.

Connor Mosher, Devney Rich, and Madi Clemson

On the night of December 25, 2022, a hot/cold water valve burst in room 302, flooding the 300s hallway and running down into the 100s hallway of Chardon High School. Water pushed through the ceiling tiles and sogged the lower-level carpets. The resulting outcome was a shutdown of half of the high school and concerns over mold and asbestos getting into the air during the restoration process.


Students have now had to adapt to the new situation by having classes in the cafeteria, small storage spaces, and behind the bleachers. Many others have had to walk outside through snowy conditions to get to classrooms on the other side of the school.


The damaged portion of the building has been up since the mid-1900s. The glue in the building materials is what contains asbestos. A new building wouldn’t have this glue even used in it, therefore eliminating the worry about it. The argument could also be made that the flood would never have happened with new pipes and windows rather than the existing old ones.


A barrier is placed on the exterior doors to the damaged area.

In the last decade, three bonds focused on updating the high school have been put to vote. Every one of them has been rejected.


Back in 2011, Chardon Local Schools proposed a $4.29 million bond. It lost by over 700 votes. Again the next year, the district put forward a $5.95 million bond for a new building. It also lost by a margin of fewer than 400 votes. After waiting eight more years, the school system proposed a more encompassing $76 million bond for the new schools. It failed by just over 1,000 votes.


A temporary wall is set up in the foyer.

The most recent bond was to create a new campus for the Chardon Schools. The new high school and middle school joint building would have been placed over the current track to not disrupt learning. The new track would have then been placed around the football field as a part of a stadium project. Grades 2-5 would have moved into the current middle school and pre-K through grade 1 would have gone to Park Elementary. In a future project, the district would make a new building to house the elementary students on the site of the current middle school.


The COVID-19-era nurse office is home to a new, small classroom.

Broken down, the $76 million bond would only cost, on average, $185.50 a year in taxes for a $100,000 home. 


Groups against the bond have claimed in the past that the schools are only in bad condition because of neglect and minor issues that can be fixed with cheaper solutions. With half the high school flooding this year, it doesn’t seem like a bunch of minor issues anymore. They also have claimed that we cannot afford it, which was just proved false upon breaking it down due to the low dollar amount stated before. Opponents claim that components of the plan, like the new stadium, are not needed. However, a new school would be placed on the track field, which would mean a new stadium with a track would have to be built.


Among many other issues, the schools are currently dealing with concerns over asbestos and mold, which both can cause cancer. We also have constant bathroom closures due to flooding, hallways roped off or trash cans collecting water due to ceiling leaks and extreme room temperatures due to no insulation or adequate temperature regulation systems.


A short-term classroom is set up in the guidance offices during the flood restoration.

It is time for the Chardon community to pass a bond to pay for our schools. The students are on the line. We are far beyond the point of “minor fixes” in the buildings.


The best solution would be to redraw the plan for the new schools. Include the issues brought up by opponents. If we put aside the new bus garage and the building of the new Board of Education building for a future bill, we would be able to drop the price of the bond even more. This would help families in lessening the already low tax increase that would be caused by the bond. 


The district needs to propose this plan again, and the community must vote in favor of it in order to provide a safe learning environment for the future students of Chardon.