After of the proposed $32 million bond issue to build a new , the is going to take some time before deciding which path to take next, board president Kevin Romanchok said Wednesday.
When the bond issue went down in , the board had just a few weeks to get it on the March primary ballot.
Whatever is eventually decided on -- whether it's the same bond issue, a modified version of it, or a bond issue to do additions and improvements to the existing middle school -- it will not go up for a vote until the November election, Romanchok said.
That means the district has time to talk with the community, get input from its architect, and talk with each other. A decision will likely be made sometime in the spring in order to have everything in order for a bond issue to go on the November ballot.
Ultimately, Romanchok said, the decision comes down to sticking with what the board believes is the best long-term decision, building new, or working with the exisiting middle school.
"Some people think we can just slap some classrooms on and that's all we need to do," Romanchok said. "There's much more to consider than just that."
Challenges and solutions
First, there's what to do in the immediate future. Projected growth figures have the middle school population jumping from around 620 to 710 by the 2014-15 school year, Romanchok said. That's when there is no more room to hold the students in the current building.
Trailers are a possibility. Cutting the library in half and using one of the halves for a classroom is one proposed solution. Even using the existing cafeteria and gymnasium as classroom space is on the table, Romanchok said.
Eighth-graders could be temporarily moved to the high school, Romanchok said. But the longest that could go on is two years before projected growth makes the high school over capacity with the eighth-graders there.
One of the big factors in the decision will be looking at the current middle school from a cost-benefit point of view. At some point, maintenance and repairs on older buildings like the middle school and become cost prohibitive, Romanchok said.
"We have to see how much heating, plumbing and electrical we can put on the exisiting infrastructure," he said. "These are buildings in the last decades of their useful lifespan. Sooner rather than later, their systems are going to start failing."
Avon Middle School was built in 1956. Village Elementary was built around 1925.
If the district decides to work with the existing middle school, it will also have to address the too-small cafeteria that forces the school to have four lunch periods. The lack of bathrooms are another issue. And traffic flow is a huge problem. Hallways are so crowded between classes, students often cannot open their lockers to get books and supplies.
Then there's the matter of and elementary schools. Both are crowded now and, if a new middle school isn't built where sixth-graders currently at Heritage North could go, an addition will need to be built there as well, Romanchok said.
Whatever the decision is, Romanchok said, the district will have to go to the voters for the money to make it happen.
"We have to do something," he said. "Doing nothing is not an option."