Friday, August 31, 2007

Proper planning for school construction

Why didn't our local school board and administration understand that building a new school today to meet the needs of 10 years from now might result in problems upon the opening of the school this year?

From today's Blade:

"You start the program with a crystal ball trying to predict what the population is going to be in eight or nine years when you finish," Mr. (Michael) Shoemaker said yesterday from his office in Columbus. "That's the case of [Keyser Elementary] where now you have too many kids going to the new school, and that's a problem throughout the state."

Didn't anyone understand that you design a building to meet population demands of today AND the future? Obviously not - otherwise, we wouldn't have brand new buildings that are overcrowded.

Why didn't they look at creative ways to construct buildings to accommodate today's school population with the ability to reduce or close off portions of the buildings as enrollment declines?

And, with all the promises and rosy outlooks being presented by our local elected officials, why are they building for declining enrollment and population anyway? Aren't all these wonderful economic development programs and 'marketing the good story about our TPS schools' supposed to increase population and enrollment?

It just boggles my mind.


-Sepp said...

"You start the program with a crystal ball..."

Why not just call "Miss Cleo's" 900 number? Or, hit some Chinese resturants up for the cookies? Sounds like those options are pretty close to what they've been using all along.

Robin said...

I don't understand how a lot of these publicly funded entities come up with stuff... I think it would have been better to make the schools bigger and just close off rooms (or utilize them for other things) if the population were to drop. But, that is just me...

Maggie said...

my thoughts exactly, Robin, but who ever expects common sense from our elected officials???

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Being a State driven project, under the guise of New, Modern Schools bought with and paid for with "Free Tobacco Money," was the worst laid out fiasco in Ohio's history, and we in Toledo fell for it.

Catch #1, the Match:
That "Free Money" wasn't really free, we had to match the funding bu, I believe 28% to get it, so it wasn't really Free, now was it?

And, I believe we stupidly financed the "match," funding it with an additional property tax for, I again believe, 28 years, obviously multiplying the costs several times.., for "free" money.

Catch #2," Who's REALLY calling the shots?
Along with this "Free Money" came strings...

You see, the State gets to decide how many cubic millimeters per child will be allowed, in effect telling you how big or small your new schools will be.

They also probably had some wacky formula for determining how many children to build each school to accommodate and how much storage space would be allocated.

Catch #3, Destroy perfectly good schools to put up inferior ones.
Oh, and let's not forget, we have to REPLACE the old schools, schools that could continue functioning perfectly well, if remodeled, for the next hundred or so years, while replacing them with so-called modern schools that are already leaking, besides being too small; and they are only expected to last typically ten years or less, by some estimates...

To my way of thinking, we were snookered.

A better plan could have been devised utilizing the existing buildings and remodeling them, saving millions of dollars and quite possibly eliminating the need for any matching funds, but when the government is giving you money, even other people's money, they can't help but meddle in your affairs and attach strings, controls, and conditions, despite the obvious absurdity of it all.

We're going to be living with the consequences of this (not-so) Free Money for generations to come.

Shame on us!

Robin said...

That's another thing that irritates me, about the new school buildings... that they're not being built to last. (At least that is what I've read, in my limited attempt at research).

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