The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 22, 2013

Lakeside High School to get donated pipe organ

Ashtabula BOE allocates $40,000 for project

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — The walls of Lakeside High School soon will echo with the sound of music, organ music, that is.

A gently used Kimball theater pipe organ will be shipped to Lakeside High and plans are being made for a dedication in November, and a holiday concert in December.

“It’s a beautiful instrument,” Superintendent Patrick Colucci said. “It will be a great enhancement to the school.”

Gary Rickert of Oak Forest, IIll., is donating the organ to the school. Rickert is a friend of now-retired treasurer, William Hill.

The Ashtabula Area City School Board approved a resolution 3-2 Wednesday night, allocating $40,000 for the Lakeside High School Theatre Organ Project. Board members Steve Candela and James Hudson cast the ‘no’ votes. They said they believed the money could be better spent.

“You have to be cautious how you spend your money,” Candela said. “People don’t understand us spending money on something like that when we are making all these cuts — busing, teachers — it sends a bad message to the public.”

Hudson couldn’t be reached for additional comment Friday.

The $40,000, which will be used toward the $100,000 needed to repair the organ and move it from Illinois to Ohio, will not come of the general fund. It will come out of the school board’s special fund, created from the sale of school properties, Colucci said, noting that’s the same fund that was used to build the field house. Hill has volunteered to raise the remaining $60,000 needed to get the organ installed and playing again.

The school board’s money is specifically for special projects like this; programs for students, said Janine Trebuchon-Wertz, school board member.

Candela said he would like to see the board’s money be used to bring back junior high sports or fund more crossing guards.

The organ boasts 15 extended ranks of pipes, chimes, four percussions, a horseshoe console, an upright piano with player actions and one extra set of chimes, among other features, according John-Paul Buzzard, president of Buzzard Pipe Organ Builders in Champaign, Ill., who appraised the organ’s actual replacement cost at $785,000.

School board President Chris Seuffert said the organ will benefit the students and the community.

Having the organ means thLakeside can also add to the types of events it hosts each year, she said.

In other business, the school board:

• Hired Gregory Zannelli as athletic administrator for grades 7-12, effective immediately;

• Established a $500 scholarship fund for the East Ashtabula Sports Club for future graduates of Lakeside High School;

• Approved a resolution for the adoption of the student/parent handbook for the 2013-2014 school year, and

• Acknowledged receipt of a letter from board of the Mariner Memorial Park Association, thanking the school board for allowing them to retain use of pieces of the now-demolished Harbor High School.

“We promise that the park is the sole purpose for our use of those pieces  and guarantee the return to your possession any and all pieces that we may be unable to use,” the letter said.