Plans show new school wastes too much space

WOW! I just looked at the new drawing of the proposed $19 million dollar school.  The only thing missing from this design is the Olympic size swimming pool and the elevated walking track around the gym.The designs in my opinion are getting worse. For instance, another kitchen and dining area on the south side of the existing high school gym.  It doesn't bring the cafeteria closer to the middle school and doesn't allow for an expansion of adding PreK-4 grades with a close cafeteria.  The 40,000 square feet of large group study, two floors and all the hallway space is a colossal cost intrusion to the taxpayers.  The large group classrooms cover most of the existing court yard where the greenhouse is.  The classrooms in the 5-8 addition at 900 square feet are no larger as we were told they would be.If I were an architects proposing this project I would try to make it as large as I could.  Especially if that person is getting paid by the square foot.By using a third party to bid every project hasn't produced a result of lowering the cost. If a competitive proposal would come in at $150 per square feet, then maybe there could be a discussion.  Every time I go to a School Board meeting I hear the same line "We are giving the taxpayer the most bang for the buck."  I've seen the board haggle over a quarter of a penny for the cost of milk or another product. I guess we can cut costs to materials, food (as we privatize food service) and field trips.  When it comes to a building, those choices go away with the taxpayer dollars paying the way. The New Hampton school district is down 18 kids this year and I pulled up the enrollment in each class PreK-12 and found out in the next four years, the district will be down  another 55 kids.The cost of a special bond referendum is at least $40,000 taxpayer dollars.  What I've seen in the paper lately, the school can't afford to put up that kind of money for another failed bond vote.  This bond issue isn't about educating or needed space.  It appears that it's about paying for the legacy.  Getting rid of a principal and sharing a couple teachers isn't going too cover the interest on this bond or generate enough energy savings to offset this overwhelming building.  Maybe we should be a little like Waverly.  They actually pulled everyone together (after the third flood), not just the yes people.  Put together a concise plan, and built a complete school for $127 per square foot.  Why can't we have that kind of leadership here?

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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