Christensen answers questions about new classrooms

Third in a series

Voters in the Greene County Community School District will be asked at the regular school election Sept. 8 to approve a $20 million bond issue for construction to create a campus for grades 5-12 at the current high school site, and to add classroom space at the elementary school. Total cost of the project is $22.8 million. The levy rate would increase $2.70 (per thousand dollars of taxable value).

The school in early July released a lengthy set of questions and answers about the project. To review that document, click here.

Superintendent Tim Christensen also answered more detailed questions about specific parts of the project. Following are his answers to questions about the new classrooms and the heating system proposed for the 5-12 building.

Q. Will the classrooms in the new high school space be different from the 1960s classrooms? Is there an advantage to having new classrooms built with current technology in mind rather than retrofitting

A. The main classroom areas that will change will be the Science classrooms that will have updates making them more conducive to experiential/hands-on learning that is required in the Next Generation Science Standards. Other classrooms will not vary greatly from the classrooms built in the 1960s but will include access to more collaboration spaces. The high school classrooms that will be remodeled will be larger than the current rooms at the MS and most of the rooms at the Intermediate building. This is important to accommodate more student collaboration and group work

Q. What spaces will be shared by all students?

A. The District is waiting for voter approval before planning is taken to that level so plans have not been finalized and will not be finalized until a bond referendum is approved by voters. The main area that will be shared will be the Performing Arts Area. There will be a separate cafeteria, gymnasium, and art room. A decision has not been made on a shared Media Center

Q. The proposal notes a savings of $110,000 in administration. What would be the administrative structure be?

A. A decision has not been made as to what the administrative structure would be, but one administrative position could be eliminated.

Q. A geothermal system is proposed for the 5-12 complex to provide better air quality. Does air quality and comfort impact teacher performance and student learning? Does data show a correlation?

A. A geothermal system is being considered for three reasons. First, a geothermal system will provide better air quality and air quality is linked to comfort in the short term and also health in the short and long term. I am not aware of any specific data.

A second reason that a geothermal system is being considered is the current high school heating and cooling system is nearing end of life and needs to be replaced. Since the current system needs to be replaced there are advantages to making the entire 5-12 geothermal. We would probably not consider geothermal if the current system did not need to be replaced.

A third reason for considering geothermal is the fact it is less expensive to operate, which will enable more funds to be spent on students and student learning.

Q. Is growth in enrollment planned for in the proposal? Is there a contingency plan should enrollment grow significantly?

A. The proposal would include a few additional rooms beyond our current needs. If enrollment grew significantly between passing a bond referendum and completion of the project both the MS and Intermediate building could continue to be used on a short term basis.

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