Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Some answers (I)


While there already is a disclaimer on this page, I feel compelled to point out that the following is my own take on things, and I am not speaking for anyone else. I'm posting as a person, not as a member of the school board. This blog is for my feelings about the school board, not necessarily representing them. This is me, not CFSD. Got it?

The official word on all things bond related is here: https://sites.google.com/a/cfschools.org/cf-schools-bond-information/home . In the words of Board Director Leeper: "There's an extensive FAQ section (being updated frequently) that addresses questions about the bond, as well as a 'Your Voice' section where you can send comments/questions to our superintendent and communications director. Our facilities committee and district leadership have worked hard over the past several years to assure the facility recommendation came from a very deliberate, studied and inclusive process. Please don't allow misinformation and rumor to impact your decision. If you have questions or concerns, be proactive and reach out to a school board member or our superintendent (Dr. Andy Pattee). "

Why not just remodel the current High School?

Over the past year we have been talking to the people of Cedar Falls, in conversation, at community meetings, and through surveys, about what they believe we need in a high school. We’ve talked amongst ourselves and spoken with teachers, educators, administrators, and parents about the issues with the current building and potentials for renovation and remodeling vs. building new. It’s true, we have list of things we need to have in a high school to offer the children of Cedar Falls the best opportunities and chances for success available in our world today. The list includes things such as a safe environment, enough room to learn using both traditional and new learning tools, room for staff and students to comfortably move about the building without too much pressure to hurry, spaces for extra-curricular activities and outdoor learning experiences, and room to grow (again!) in the future if need be. 

Let’s talk about the current building.

The current building is about 60 years old. It’s been renovated and added onto multiple times already. Because of these previous renovations the current high school is a maze, difficult to get from Point A to Point B, and has many security issues with open access to doorways throughout the campus allowing people to come and go freely without notice. Two stories tall, the current high school sits on 17.5 acres of land, surrounded by private homes, with limited parking and inadequate facilities for extra-curricular and outdoor activities. There is, simply put, no room to grow. 

Now let’s talk a bit about a new building.

With 50 acres of land there will not only be plenty of room for future growth, but also room for parking for both students and staff, and outdoor space for on-site facilities for those extra-curricular and outdoor activities mentioned earlier. A new building would have planned space for not only enough classrooms, but also hallway passing space, facilities made for new technologies (such as the 3D printer the high school currently has, laboratories, all sorts of things needed for today's work environment), the additional power and wiring needed for a secure and reliable computer-friendly environment for all students (they all have laptops now!), and other on-site facilities that help provide a well-rounded, safe, and varied educational experience.

All options were seriously considered and costed out.  Input from experts and the community at large was sought after and used in making the plan.  This recommendation was not made lightly.

More tomorrow.

Doug

Credit where it's due: Laurel is my favorite writer in the world to work with, and she contributed to this post.
If she had also contributed to this footnote, it would be more direct, better worded, or eliminated entirely.

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