USD 426 has hosted three bond informational meetings in the past month. Two had building tours and the last was held at the board room on October 20th. These meetings were held to provide information about the projects included in the requested bond question and also to answer questions of those in attendance. I would like to provide some answers to some of the questions that were asked for clarification.
- Can the projects be changed now? Once the information is presented to the State Board of Education and to the County Clerk for the election, no changes can occur. This was done several months ago.
- Did the electrical upgrades include all new wiring at Courtland? No—the project includes updating the electrical panels in order to handle a larger workload. This also includes updating lighting and the fire alarm system at Courtland. Mr. Joonas is working with Jake Englebert, Maintenance Director on a plan to update the wiring in the oldest portion of the Courtland building. This will be a multi year project that will be paid out of capital outlay or contingency reserve dollars. In all of our discussions, we knew that not all concerns could or would be addressed through the bonds.
- Was there any consideration during the process about the sewer/water aspects of the old building? Although this was not discussed during the initial process, we have decided to have a company come in and run a camera through the system so we know what we might be dealing with. Again, this will be part of our multi-year process with capital outlay and contingency reserve funds.
- Why are we adding two more locker rooms at Courtland, when they already have four? In our initial plans, we were going to expand the two locker rooms on the east side of the gym and make those tornado shelters. When the architect came and looked at our ideas, he shared that we would have to totally tear out the old locker rooms and basically start from scratch in order to meet the FEMA guidelines for a tornado shelter. This was going to cost way more than just building two more locker rooms and attaching to the existing building. It was also asked about using them as classrooms/STEAM room instead of a locker room. In order to meet the FEMA guidelines, you have to have so many square feet of space for each person/student or staff member. When you start putting desks/tables/chairs into the room—it would not hold enough room for our entire building. Most schools put in wrestling rooms or locker rooms to act as a tornado shelter.
I want to assure everyone that we have tried to be as mindful as possible with the tax dollars we are requesting. I also would like all those that attended any of our meetings to know, we did listen and are planning accordingly. We appreciate everyone’s comments and questions during this process and would simply conclude by saying, “Please remember to vote on November 2nd.”
Superintendent of Schools