We have been doing some research here on the likely school bond issue. It is an important issue with major impact on the area both economically and culturally. After spending hours looking at the proposal and what is being suggested in the Long Range Facilities Plan I have a question: What are they thinking?
Lets look at our situation here. Enrollment for the past few years has had a steady downward trend. Our population hasn't grown in the last ten years, it has just gotten older. The local economy is still not very strong. There is no indication of a major influx of new students for the next several years.
This doesn't mean that nothing needs to be done. Many of our school buildings need major work There are compelling reasons to balance the enrollment more between the two high schools. This would require enlarging Lakeview. Many of our school buildings require some level of modernization to improve energy and operating efficiency, allow better use of technology, and increase accessibility, but that doesn't mean throwing away our current buildings and starting over.
A building should have a very long use life. With proper maintenance, they can be used for centuries (when did Michelangelo paint that ceiling?) Buildings can age gracefully. They can change with the times. They often become the focus of proud histories and traditions.
It is usually much better and less expensive to upgrade a building than to start from scratch with a new one. In our case, it makes more sense to fix and upgrade what we have, and wait before going for an expensive dose of new buildings. There may be some compelling reasons for major new construction, but I haven't seen any yet. If you know of any, please post them.