Board member apologizes for West misinformation
WORTHINGTON -- West Elementary School. What are we to do with it? It served our community well as an elementary school. I remember growing up across the street and enjoying the playground and open grass areas with the other neighborhood children....
WORTHINGTON -- West Elementary School. What are we to do with it? It served our community well as an elementary school. I remember growing up across the street and enjoying the playground and open grass areas with the other neighborhood children. The school grew with the community over the years with new additions. It also grew older. Building on dredge fill caused some areas to settle, some plumbing problems exist, additional required programs were added and things that functioned fine 40 years ago, like 2-foot-wide doors to the restrooms, no cafeteria for lunch and limited educational spaces no longer meet today's requirements.
Times have changed. The community has changed. The expectations for our children's education have changed. But change does not mean that the facility stops being functionally useful. It can continue to meet a need for educational space within the district. Even though West Elementary cannot properly handle 600 children with today's requirements, it is still appropriate to make use of the available space to best serve our children's educational needs. Closing the Prairie Lakes building and moving those services to West to fully utilizing that facility will save the School District about $40,000 per year in operating expenses.
I was visiting with Jeff, a person I have known since grade school, when he told me that he would not be voting for the levy referendum. He stated that he was lied to about West not being usable. I have heard of others making this comment also.
I had made numerous presentations in support of the building referendum. I remember commenting on the condition of the facility, the problems that exist and would need to be repaired if the facility was to continue to be used as an elementary school. I do not recall saying that the building was not usable. If the referendum had not passed, the school would have continued to be used for elementary education. There would have been no other option. There were many individuals that made presentations in support of the building referendum. I do not know what they said in their presentations.
I wish to apologize to Jeff and to anyone else in the community that was told that the West Elementary School was not usable. It was not my intention -- and I hope it wasn't anyone else's intention to leave you with the impression that the building could not be used for other purposes besides elementary education. This was not and still is not the case. I ask that you accept my apology if you feel you were misled.
West Elementary School still has rooms with floors that have settled, 2-foot doors to the restrooms, plumbing problems, shifting walls, limited space and other issues that come with a building that is 50 years old and has seen the coming and going of more than 600 children every school day during that period. Even though this building still has problems, it serves a purpose in educating our children. There a just fewer of them using the building and they are in areas of the building that have the fewest problems. This building won't last forever, but it is helping us meet our space needs by for now.