Reader believes proposed new middle school is more than New Hampton needs

Just over a month after we find out that enrollment is down another 18 students, (51 students less since the last bond issue) another $19 million dollar proposal is going to be in front of the voters.I haven't seen how this building is going to be configured, but I'll tell you how to figure the square footage and cost.  The average estimating cost per square foot is $200, and $19 million divided by $200 equals 95,000 square feet of space.Taking out 4,000 square feet of shop space equals 91,000 square feet for the students. A gymnasium (the size of the high school gym) is 7,500 square feet and a cost of $1,500,000.  Take 91,000 square feet and minus 7500 square feet and it equals 83,500 square feet.The state recommended average square foot  per student is 125 square feet so 83,500 square feet divided by 125 equals 668. That is enough room for 668 students.   According to what NHHS reported to the state there are 284 students in the middle school, which covers grades 5-8 at New Hampton Middle School.The real number is equal to 294 feet per student or almost 2 1/2 times the required space.  Bottom line is this: 300 students require 38,000 square feet of total space.At a $200 per square foot equals $7.6  million dollars. $1.5 million for a gym and less than a $1 million for the extended shop space. That equals $10.1 million plus 3 percent for architecure and engineering. Under $11 million dollars. Someone needs to ask the board what the extra $8 million is for.  Maybe the extra $8 million will cover the shortfall coming to the school because enrollment is still going down.And of course the way to get out of a financial crisis is to spend more money that you don't have.You know like buying a property that needs tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to fix, remove asbestos, and excavate the contaminated soil. Don't get me wrong, we needed a bus barn, but I think the public input would have been nice.The worst part of the 11-29-16 article was this quote "the Management Fund is funded exclusively by local property taxes."  No matter what the state increase is by 2020 this school district's management fund is still responsible by local tax payers.  Now the district wants to pick your pocket for another tax for a building.  Last I knew the district still owes $3 million on a bond.   I hope more people start asking questions of this board and superintendent.   [Superintendent] Jay [Jurrens] said school is changing and I'll have to agree.  I see ads for virtual schools like K12 that have a lot of appeal because the enrollment is free, learn as fast as you want, you can do it anywhere.  There is a proposal for ICN classes with a master teacher that you could take at school or almost anywhere.Assignments are done via e-mail just like some college courses. That would cut the need for several teachers and one master teacher could do several classes in several schools at once.Maybe old school brick and mortar buildings aren't the way to go anymore. I'm not saying that there isn't some need for a better building, but at least I will level with the taxpayers on such a large issue.  Maybe the school should get their financial house in order before asking the taxpayers for more. Thanks for taking your time in reading this and all the nice feedback I get. 

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111
Email: tribune@nhtrib.com

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