Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year! It is always exciting to get our students back in the building even if some of them are not terribly excited to come back. As many of you have noticed, we have done many updates to our facilities over the summer months. To begin, we did some landscaping around the high school; I have heard that there were questions about this with reference to our new referendum. To be clear, we do not have access to the newly approved referendum dollars until NEXT school year (2017-2018) when the new referendum takes effect. The landscaping at the high school (as well as Riverview and the district office which were done the prior two years) was part of facility improvement plans prior to my arrival. The rationale behind the landscaping in general is to improve the overall appearance of our excellent facilities as well as clean up the area(s). I realize that there were a number of trees removed for the high school landscaping project, but many of these were dying and the line of trees directly in front of the building were too close to the building and also posed a possible safety concern by not allowing a decent view in and/or out of the building. A final reason that the high school landscaping was addressed now was as a result of the work on Woodland Avenue conducted by the city; it made a lot of sense to tie these two projects together.
In addition to the landscaping, we have also replaced flooring in the high school main hall, second floor hall, and second floor classrooms, as well as the flooring in Riverview’s commons, band room hall, and the art room/FCE room hall. We are also in the process of replacing all of the high school’s and Riverview’s academic lockers. The high school lockers are now twice as wide as they once were which should accommodate students’ backpacks, books, coats, AND laptop bags with no issue; at Riverview we will have enough lockers installed so that EVERY student will have their own locker. We have also completed the entire roof at Woodland and the vast majority of the roof at the high school which means that all of our facilities now have new roofs (with the exception of parts of the high school).
Lastly, I wanted to address some of the questions that have been raised regarding the possibility of another referendum. Basically, I have heard “Really? Another referendum, didn’t we just approve one?” The referendum that was approved last April takes effect (as mentioned above) during the 2017-2018 school year; it is for operations as well as renovations including several rooms/areas at the high school (band, choir, agricultural ed., technology ed., art). The other referendum has only been discussed and if approved would be to renovate the high school gym by making it much larger (able to accommodate at least two full size basketball courts), removing the stage area, adding a wrestling room/area, a multi-purpose room, and additional storage (among other things). To be clear, the board has NOT yet authorized another referendum. Our approach includes developing architectural plans to allow us to show the community what our potential plans look like, as well as to provide information to the public regarding this possible referendum while soliciting feedback in the form of a community survey. If we find through the survey results that there is community support for something like this, then the board will move forward; if we find through the survey there is not, we will not move forward. Again, this is not a “done deal”. We intend to provide our taxpayers with all the information necessary to make an informed choice and if the survey indicates that there is not community support for a project like this, we will not move forward with another referendum question. One of my primary goals is to ensure that our community and stakeholder groups are well informed and able to provide feedback prior to making any significant decisions that may impact local taxes.
I hope you all have had a great summer with plenty of time to relax and enjoy family and friends.
As always, please feel free to contact me at any time.
Craig G. Broeren
715-537-5612 ext. 402