The school system wants to put a $25 million addition on our high school. At first glance that sounds great, doesn't it?
Well, the net gain is one - as in 1 - classroom. It is a lovely energy efficient building, with breakout areas for the kids. If they were college kids, then breakout areas would be fine, but they are high school students who aren't allowed to be anywhere without adult supervision. There is a huge lobby area and new administrative offices. You see why they are doing this, right? Lobby areas affect learning? Sure.
The other issue with this addition is that they have completely neglected the 40 year old - never ever been renovated - Performing Arts Wing. The wing was completed in 1963. They have had 3 coats of paint since then. No sound proofing. No acoustical improvements. They have a spotlight that isn't strong enough to reach the stage. The whole wing is not ADA compliant. There is no ramp access to the stage - all the large instruments have to be hauled up and down stairs that are too narrow. There are outlets that spark when the kids in the pit orchestra plug in their stand lights. The return for the HVAC is in the pit area, and when they turn the air on in the spring during rehearsals, it spews dust and smoke and God knows what else. That said, the list of other safety issues is as long as my arm.
A group of parents went to the school board and told them that the money would be better spent down in the Performing Arts Wing. We explained our reasons. We wrote letters. We talked to the newspaper. My last email from the Superintendent told me that the Performing Arts Department was included in the planning. (Really? I think not. Because if it were, we'd have a whole new music wing, thankyouverymuch.) He also told me I needed to speak with my principal. Really? H knows what I need and he told me to go to the School Board and the Superintendent. Mr. Superintendent, I do NOT appreciate getting the run around.
Over a year ago, word came down from on high that they were going to renovate the high school. We were told that the main reason for doing the renovation was to update and improve the Performing Arts wing, update the science rooms that are at the top of that wing, and make the whole thing ADA compliant. It's there in black and white. Somewhere along the way, the architects decided that the Performing Arts wing was too expensive to do at the same time as the classroom building. What got cut? Yes - the Performing Arts Wing.
Now they want us to believe that there will be money left after the building is complete. They will renovate the PA wing with whatever is left. Leftovers? Again?
We won't be having leftovers!
They have messed with the wrong parents.
Neither of my children will be there to reap the benefits of this long and arduous fight. But we must pay it forward. If we don't try to get what the kids need now, they'll never get it.