High school deserves ‘chance to re-tool’
To the editor:
Like any business, sometimes it is time to re-tool. That is what the discussion has been within the Fairfield Community School District about the high school for over the past 20 years. Many proposals have come and gone over those past years, and now the district has a new proposal in place that addresses some of the most urgent needs at the high school.
What are the needs? New science rooms. Has science changed since the school was built in 1939 when the school was built? Yes. New demands have been put on the science classes because the world of science has grown significantly since then. This proposal contains 4 new science rooms that will allow state of the art labs and class room projects that don’t happen now because of the limited facilities. The new plan also addresses needs of the music and art departments by relocating all three class rooms within the existing building that will provide better learning environments for band, choir, and art. The music department stands to gain twice as much storage area, two more ensemble rehearsal spaces, and ground floor access, all possible due to architects and administrators who are looking at optimal remodeling of our existing building space. The new plan also addresses safety issues at the school by changing the existing entry points and controlling traffic flow of students during the day and people coming to our school at night attending events. The school will also become more compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules through the elimination of stairs and the addition of an elevator for access to all levels. The school would also gain some new locker rooms, weight room, shop areas, and an office complex that will make access to administration and counseling easier and more efficient for students and parents.
Three years ago the district had a proposal that was given to the voters of Fairfield and Jefferson County in the form of a 25 million dollar bond issue to build a new high school. It was overwhelmingly voted down and was considered too big of a project to fund at that time. With that vote, it is clear a new high school is not in our future. In response to that, the new bond issue that will go to the public soon is asking for a $10 million project that will be used for remodeling parts of the existing high school and new buildings on the high school grounds. We as a community can begin to re-build the existing high school a little bit a time.
Is it time to re-tool? Yes. We don’t use 1939 John Deere tractors anymore because the world demands bigger, safer, more comfortable machines (think GPS planting, larger capacities, and air-conditioned cabs). Our local manufacturers are not using the same assembly lines and machines as they did in 1939. The world demands a higher level of productivity. Today’s education is demanding the same kind of changes to meet the complex educational challenges presented today. I ask that you consider the idea of giving Fairfield High School the chance to re-tool for the future when asked to vote for the upcoming bond issue.
— Jim Edgeton, FHS band director