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Sturgeon R-V Town Hall explains need for no-tax bond issue

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 11:13 am

A baker’s dozen toured the halls of Sturgeon R-V’s K-8 building on Patton Street the evening of March 30.

One of the highlights of the tour, part of R-V Superintendent Melia Franklin’s public forum for “Proposition Bulldogs” a $2 million school bond issue that does not increase property tax. To pass, 57 percent of the voters need to approve it.

One of the evening’s highlights included a tour of the R-V school by Superintendent Melia Franklin.  The evening was an open public forum for “Proposition Bulldogs,” a $2 million school no tax increase bond issue. To pass, 57 percent of those who vote must approve it.

One area targeted for improvement, should the bond pass, is the south entrance at the Patton Street building. There are security and Americans with Disability Act concerns, Franklin said as she showed her visitors the doorway and the former computer room, complete with patches of rotting floor adjacent to it.

“One of the things we are looking to change is two-fold here. The vestibule here gets expanded to just past this doorway. Should someone want to drop off a lunchbox, or Johnny’s flute or Susie’s homework, they will get entrance into the building here. And they can actually stop here where will have protective glass with bullet-resistant film on it… They can stop off here and not be buzzed into the rest of the building and exit right away.”

The addition, she said, allows the district more control over who has access to the student body.

Additionally, it will allow direct access to the school board and superintendent’s office without visitors mingling with the students.

Referencing plans for the building’s improvements, she said. “You’ll notice there is a new secure entrance to the building as well

Forum attendees eye a portion of rotting floor at the Sturgeon R-V K-8 building

as to the superintendent’s office.”

Taking the group into the former computer classroom, she pointed out the patches of rotting floor and said: “Our needs here are two-fold… Here is our old gym floor… it is rotting and the tile on top of it is crumbling. This space for all intents and purposes gets gutted. This will be the new entrance into the superintendent’s office. There will be a staircase that goes up here, and in addition to that we will put a lift in this corner. Because right now, our board room, as well as the superintendent’s office are not ADA compliant. Should someone who has a special need or disability want access to board room or the superintendent, currently I would have to come to them or we would have to move the board meeting, which we have done upon occasion.”

The work, she said will make the board room and superintendent’s office ADA compliant. “This, I think we would all agree, needs to be addressed sooner, rather than later.”

Other issues to be addressed include: restroom upgrades, a library renovation and painting.

The tour included walks through the halls, with Franklin pointing out the halls paint schemes, as well as the rainbow of different shades of blue used on them, and the students’ lockers.

“We really need to be using only one shade of blue, not three shades of bulldog blue. Let’s just have the Bulldog Blue we know and love.”  The fixtures in the bathrooms, she said, “are just a little past their prime.”

Walking over tiles that were bubbling with age and others crumbling because they were manufactured in an era where nobody imagined them having to support floor cleaners and waxers that employees rode on. “Back then nobody had to think much about the kind of equipment needed to clean these floors. Now it is ride-on equipment instead of 1950s ‘older person with a broom’ the tiles have begun to crack and crumble.”

The tour concluded in the library, where after discussing the advantages of lower, upgraded bookshelves, Franklin took a question regarding the entrance and ADA upgrades having a higher priority than a high school cafeteria.

Expenses are part of it, a steam-table, for example costs $23,000. Franklin had that figure handy because she recently, successfully wrote a grant to fund a new one for the K-8 kitchen, she said that multiplying that for a full kitchen. “That is one steam table for one kitchen in our elementary building. “Take that, multiply it exponentially and you would figure out pretty quickly that putting in a full kitchen would be pretty expensive. In addition to that we would have to double, or at least increase, our kitchen staff so we could have kitchens here and there because you are running two kitchens.”

Another person questioned the entrance to the board/superintendent’s office upgrade being included in the project. “Why did that get put in front of a kitchen for the high school”

Franklin responded with one word, “safety.”

She then elaborated. “As we were looking at that vestibule, we live in a world where I don’t have to go very far back in time to point to folks getting entrance into a building and making bad decisions once in there. Again, we allow people into our building and they get immediate access to our children.”

The respondents to the district’s facilities survey, she said, shared that concern.

“And I will say that when I did that school survey, that was not just a  little bit, but far and above the other topics. It was far and above, like 10-fold far and above the others. That was a clear message from the community that it was on the top of the list.”