2010-10-17 / Front Page

Montrose parent presents community-supported list

School Board pledges support
BY JEANNE MARCELLO STAFF REPORTER

MONTROSE - Christina Manley, a Montrose mom who has two kids attending Kuehn-Haven Middle School, is leading the community committee to prioritize improvements for Montrose Community Schools.

Manley went before the Montrose Board of Education on Tuesday, Oct. 12, to present and discuss the priorities for school improvement that have won community support. Manley talked about the community survey as a means to “find out what the community is interested in and what they would support to go through with the millage renewal.”

Since the schools do not yet know whether they will be chosen to receive leftover stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Manley presented two lists of projects, with cost projections from the Wolgast Corporation. The lists were based on the community input from the surveys that were identified by the community committee.

COMMITTEE'S PROPOSAL The first list of projects, totaling approximately $9.2 million, identified top priority projects at each school building. Overall, upgrades in technology were supported by 94.5 percent of the community in the community survey. Modifications to enhance security were also priorities for the elementary, middle school and high school; the Choice School already has a security system.

Detailing improvements by building, Manley presented the committee's recommendations.

At the Choice School, Manley talked about the need to add two classrooms, increase the technology available to students in the school and replace a portion of the parking lot.

At Carter Elementary School, she talked about the need to replace windows and carpeting; upgrade restrooms; and create a secure building entrance which enables school office staff to see everyone who enters the school. She also detailed improvements to the kitchen at Carter, including new freezers, coolers and a fullservice kitchen, enabling the school to serve hot lunches to the students. She also listed the addition of air conditioning, improvements in technology and renova- tions to the parking area; which included more parking spaces and the separation of school bus traffic from other traffic to increase child safety.

Superintendent Mark Kleinhans pointed out the energy savings the schools would gain by replacing the existing windows and doors.

When discussing improvements at Kuehn-Haven Middle School, Manley talked about replacing more windows and doors, a new ceiling, new band instrument storage and “fill in the pool” to use the space for other activities. Again, creating a new secure entrance was a priority at the Middle School as well. She also mentioned the need to make some adjustments in the “air handling and diffusers,” which Kleinhans further explained to the school board.

Manley further mentioned the need to replace the back parking lot at the middle school and create a separate bus access and parking entrance.

She stated, “It's NOT about spit and polish, it's improving [the schools] without taking money out of the classrooms.”

Manley then reviewed changes for Hill- McCloy High School. New windows and doors; as well as a new secured entrance were key recommendations. The restrooms need new toilets and partitions. She also talked about the need to replace carpet with vinyl tile for easier maintenance. New security cameras are also needed at the high school.

To better accommodate the school sports program, a new sports entrance was proposed in the Hall of Fame corridor. New team locker rooms and sports storage area were also mentioned. They also felt the need to upgrade the school softball and football fields; as well as install a new sound system for sports announcing.

When it came to the school administration office, Manley talked about moving the administration inside the high school using the office space where the high school office is now. The high school office will have to be moved to create a more secure entrance where visitors can be monitored entering the building.

Kleinhans informed the school board that to renovate the existing administration building would cost approximately $200,000. They didn't feel it was cost effective.

As she continued her report to the school board, Manley said, “We evaluated our priorities and looked carefully where to put the money.”

IF ARRA FUNDS COME THRU

Then Manley addressed the projects proposed if the schools were to receive the additional money from the leftover ARRA funds. Among those items proposed was “wireless technology for all the buildings.” She talked about the importance of having “the latest and greatest so it's not out of date before it's built.”

Kleinhans chimed in mentioning interactive white boards with two or three wireless computer stations per classroom.

Manley also talked about having new signage at each of the schools, better directing people who aren't familiar with the school; as well as more parking for sports events.

With the added ARRA money, they could do more to finish the pool area after it's been filled. They would change to a rubber floor for volleyball, basketball and wrestling, as well as providing storage for sports equipment. New bleachers in the main gymnasium were also part of the bonus plan with ARRA funds.

Kleinhans thanked Manley for her work and mentioned that Don Wixson is the other co-chair of the community committee. The committee is expected to meet again in December.

The Montrose Community Schools Board of Education voted to approve the proposals presented by the committee and move forward to the next step in the process.

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