Committee ranks priorities for school district facilities
The fourth meeting for our long range facility planning committee was last Monday, November 6. The committee prioritized ten different areas of facility needs. The following is the order the committee ranked them (with #1 being the highest priority), along with a brief explanation:
#1 Safety & Security – the safety of our students is our #1 priority and there are several facility related issues that can be addressed to increase safety and security, including students in portable classrooms and students having to travel between multiple buildings at the elementary school and junior high school (i.e., main building, kindergarten/1st grade wing, gym, cafeteria, portable buildings) throughout the school day
#2 Classroom Capacity – our elementary school and intermediate school are already over capacity, our junior high school is projected to be over capacity by next year (2018-2019) and our high school is projected to be over capacity in three years (2020-2021)
#3 Athletics – our athletic facilities were built around 1980 when we were a 1A size district, we do not have any courts for our tennis team, and our spectator seating, lighting, and electrical capacity are all in need of upgrade or replacement
#4 Aging Facility Conditions – our elementary school was built in 1967 and our junior high school was built in 1979; there are many building systems including roofs and HVAC that are in need of replacement
#5 Parking/Traffic Congestion – the traffic congestion on Thomas Arnold Road will continue to worsen as our enrollment grows every year if we keep ten grade levels (pre-kindergarten through 8th grade) at those campuses; parking is inadequate for athletic events and other school functions
#6 Fine Arts & Band – our band and theater programs have outgrown our cafeterias for concerts and plays, the majority of the schools we compete against have performing arts auditoriums
#7 Technology – additional hardware and a faster internet connection would enable us to better prepare our students for the 21st Century
#8 Career & Technology – in the last couple of years we have added computer science, welding, and health science programs; we hope to be able to continue offering additional programs such as engineering to prepare our students for college and careers
#9 Ag/FFA – our ag barn was built around 1980 and has several building systems that are in need of replacement or repair
#10 Removing Portables – this was ranked last because the committee didn’t feel like removing the portable buildings is a high priority, however, if we are able to add classrooms through new construction and/or renovation then the portables could be used for storage instead of classrooms and it would also help with priorities the committee ranked higher (i.e., safety and security, classroom capacity, and parking/traffic congestion)
While we will probably not be able to address all of these needs at this time due to financial constraints, the long range facilities planning committee will incorporate all of them into the long range plan that will be submitted to our school board in January.
Our next meeting will be Monday, December 4, at 6:00 p.m. at the Salado ISD Administration Building/Civic Center, located at 601 North Main Street. All of these meetings are open to the public.