The person who invents the technological device capable of correctly predicting the future will become the wealthiest person in the world. History is painted with those individuals that have attempted to look into the crystal ball of imagination and accurately determine what will happen in the next five, fifty, or one hundred years. Sometimes these prognostications come close to reality and at other times they miss the mark by a considerable distance.
The school district and Board of Education often find themselves in this challenging environment. The present is no exception. The district has recently been granted a $4 million low interest job stimulation loan from the federal government for school construction. In the application the district requested the funds to: 1) build a physical education facility in order to relieve the tremendous burden of use placed on our gymnasium and 2) relocate and rebuild our deteriorating bus garage facility. The loan is a very economical way for the district to make these much needed additions to our physical plant and save taxpayers money on long-term interest payments.
Now is where the need for this TDCCPF (technological device capable of correctly predicting the future) comes in to play. What type of P.E. configuration will best meet the needs of students today and fifty years from now? Where should the bus garage be built and what type of storage edifices give buses the best protection for the least amount of expense?
On Tuesday evening we sat down with coaches, P.E. instructors, and bus garage personnel to examine, discuss, and debate the options. The conversation was fluid, open and sometimes heated. Each voice was acknowledged and their points of view and predictions were noteworthy.
A competition gym would consume the entire $4 million and perhaps more. There is no question the high school would greatly benefit from such an edifice. Our winter teams need more area in which to train and compete. The present locker room facilities are crowded and inadequate. A new gym with proper seating could be employed for graduation exercises (seating would be around 2000 and graduation requires seating for at least 1000). The new gym could fit nicely in our plan to expand and retrofit portions of the high school.
A metal P.E./sports center would encompass approximately 38,000 square feet and would provide space for numerous P.E. classes and activities. It would also allow practice space for a variety of athletic teams regardless of the time of year or the weather. A wood or composite floor could be installed in one end of the structure for volleyball, basketball, etc. The cost would be approximately $2.1 million.
New buses are costing the district $125,000 each. We need to protect these expensive pieces of equipment. Buses transport students from across the valley on a daily basis throughout the school year. The present bus garage and storage sheds are an eyesore along State Street and they have surpassed their lifespan. The acreage is limiting and would not accommodate the future needs of the district. The cost of a garage and storage sheds would be approximately $1 million plus land.
In the next five to six years something must be done to mitigate the aging portions of the high school. The south and west sides of the school were built in 1965. The infrastructure in these areas is left wanting. Could the building of a competition gym wait until the Board moves to reconstruct these areas of concern? If the metal P.E. structure is erected would the public say through the ballot box that a competition gym is no longer needed? Should the bus garage be placed on existing school property or should we look to buy another parcel of land? What should happen to the present site of the bus garage? Should the district keep this valuable commercial space along a heavily used highway or should it be sold to help fund the new facility?
We would very much appreciate input from community members and constituents of the district on this matter. Feel free to contact the high school administration, your board member, or my office with your ideas and thoughts. The timeline for the use of these funds dictate a need to reach a conclusion and develop a plan before the end of this school year if possible.
If only we had TDCCPF!