CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday night, the Canfield Local School District held an open house at Hilltop Elementary. It was part of an initiative to educate the public on why school officials say they need money to improve the schools.

Leaking ceilings, classrooms without doors, thin walls and exterior doors that won’t stay shut — those are just a few of the problems at Hilltop Elementary.

“We have major issues. The classroom walls are an issue where, you know, they don’t butt heads… wall to wall. So we do have issues with there where noise gets through the walls to different classrooms,” said Principal Michael Flood.

Flood says in elementary schools, the goal is to get kids up out of their seats and moving around, talking, even singing to help kids learn. That’s difficult in classrooms this small, which are smaller than the state requirement.

“We have open classrooms where security measures come into play,” Flood said.

The original part of Hilltop was built in the 1970s, before school shootings became a nationwide problem. Many security features are missing, like a vestibule sectioned off from the rest of the school where visitors are checked in. These missing security features create the need for extra patrols around the halls.

“Usually every half hour, 45 minutes, I do walk around the school, make sure all school doors are locked at all times,” Flood said.

The elementary school is known to be too cold in the winter. Flood says that last year, they had to shut down the front office for several weeks because the temperature wouldn’t rise above 40 degrees.

Architects working on this project say HVAC systems, leaky roofs and crumbling bricks are to be expected in a 50-year-old school.

“Issues with school facilities are not unique to just Canfield as school buildings are continuing to age in Ohio with an average range between 100, 50 years,” said educational master planner Cheryl Fisher.

Costs of improvements are only climbing. In 2018, the needed repairs would have cost $13 million. Today, it’s more than $18 million.

The district will hold three more open house meetings:

  • Oct. 26, 2022, at C.H. Campbell Elementary School
  • Nov. 16, 2022, at Canfield Village Middle School
  • Dec. 7, 2022, at Canfield High School

All of them start at 6 p.m.