School board discusses building addition, Blue Zones
Plans are progressing for completing the design of the renovation and addition project at Fairfield High School, superintendent Art Sathoff told school board members Monday.
Sathoff said he forwarded a list of questions from the previous board meeting to the architect and construction manager. A meeting was held Tuesday among administrators, architect and construction management teams.
“It was a good meeting, nailing down details of the concept and discussing plans for public meetings,” he said today.
At Monday’s work session, school board members and Sathoff discussed holding public informational meetings in the weeks leading up to the April 2 vote. Those meetings will be an opportunity for residents in the school district to learn more about the proposed construction project and bond issue for FHS.
Times and dates were not yet determined, but the locations will include meetings at: Cambridge Investment Research Inc., Lockridge Community Center, Fairfield, perhaps at Fairfield Public Library, and Libertyville Elementary School.
The informational meetings will have building plans available with people from StruXture Architects and Carl A. Nelson & Co., Sathoff, Fairfield school district auxiliary services director Fred McElwee and some school board members.
“I want the meetings to be more of a conversation with residents than a presentation,” said Sathoff.
The district’s website will post information about the project in the near future.
Anyone is welcome to contact the district with questions or to visit the high school. All visitors are asked to check-in with the high school office and receive a visitor’s badge.
Board members heard a presentation Monday about schools’ roles in Fairfield’s Blue Zones initiative from Jenny Weber, a Wellmark employee working specifically on the state’s Blue Zones projects.
Iowa’s Blue Zones project works to transform communities by creating environments making healthy choices easier and accessible for residents.
Nine healthy lifestyle habits were identified as common denominators among the people in the five original Blue Zones around the world by author Dan Buettner, who wrote “The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”
Those nine lifestyle habits are the foundation of the Power 9: move naturally, know your purpose, down shift, 80 percent rule, plant slant, wine @ five, family first, belong and right tribe.
“Schools play a major role in having healthy children,” said board member Jeri Kunkle, who is on a Blue Zones committee.
Weber provided handouts about Blue Zones including descriptions of 20 Blue Zones school pledge actions.
“One idea for schools is to have a ‘walking school bus’” said Weber. “Adults volunteer to walk with students to school instead of getting a ride. This achieves more than one goal; students move naturally, adults are volunteering and connecting, which can provide feelings of belonging.”
The 20 school pledge actions are suggestions for schools, not requirements, said Weber.
McElwee said looking through the points, he counted eight the schools already have in place, including campuses are tobacco-free and elementary schools teach about nutrition.
The school board will consider a resolution to pledge support to the Blue Zones school guidelines at the March board meeting.
Weber also encouraged residents to register with Blue Zones online.
“We need to re-engage,” she said. “We had 3,000 Fairfield residents sign-up last time, which is the highest per capita participation ever.
“Now that Fairfield has been chosen as a Blue Zones demonstration site and working toward certification, everyone needs to re-register online again,” said Weber. “We need at least 20 percent of the population to sign-up. And we’re looking for 25 percent of the public schools in Fairfield to join.”
To sign-up and pledge to make healthier lifestyle choices, go online to www.bluezonesproject.com and click on Join Today.