The Mahoning County Educational Service and Career and Technical centers already share a superintendent, treasurer and several board members, and starting next week, they’ll share a location, too.
The ESC is moving into a new building constructed behind the career and technical center on Palmyra Road.
“We’re moving on Monday,” said Ron Iarussi, superintendent of both centers.Construction started in June 2015 on the $8.5 million, two-story building.“We’re right on schedule” and within budget, he said.
For the past several years, the ESC has been housed at the Southwoods Complex in Boardman. That building is owned by Cocca Development, and the center pays rent.
“In the long haul, it will be less expensive for the ESC,” Iarussi said. “The career-tech will be the owner, and there’s a lease for payment of the loan.”
That will reduce operational costs for the center, and the center can pass that savings on to member districts, he said.
The ESC includes 14 member districts in Mahoning County and districts in Trumbull, Columbiana and Portage counties. Those districts pay the center for services, including preschool, curriculum and instruction and services for special-needs students.
The new location also means more tax revenue for the city of Canfield.
The Boardman location provides about 25,000 square feet, and the new building is roughly 35,000 square feet.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Aug. 4.
MS Consultants Inc. of Youngstown is the criteria architect. Hammond Construction of Canton and Olsavsky Jaminet of Youngstown are the design and construction team.
With about 700 employees, the ESC is one of the largest employers in Mahoning County. That number includes about 300 substitute teachers deployed as needed to member districts. Many other employees work out in the districts and don’t report to the center. About 100 employees work out of the center.
Besides more space, the new center will be equipped with technology and better accommodate employees, Iarussi said.
“The technology that will be available in the building will model the technology the teachers need to implement in the school districts,” he said.Using that technology will empower more educators, Iarussi said.
“I think it’s a beautiful building, but we emphasize the functionality of the building rather than aesthetics,” he said.