Here's The Plan: K-5 For Irle, 6-8 For ES
Board To Ask Voters To Approve $18.5M In Bonds For School Construction
By Samar Fay
Published: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
The Glasgow School Board voted last Wednesday to accept the recommendation of its Building Committee and put grades K through 5 in a new Irle School building. East Side School will be for grades 6 through 8 and the high school will be 9 through 12.
The vote was 4-1, with Trustee David Irving dissenting, saying he wanted more time before casting his vote. He asked if the committee had considered a configuration of K-3, 4-6 and a 7-8 wing at the high school. Superintendent Bob Connors said the district can’t do that much building within their bonding capacity.
Connors said the national trend is to go K-5. It fits with common core curriculums, he said, and research suggests this is best for the educational process. Trustee Nick Dirkes said parents have told the committee that they want to hold down the number of student drop-off sites, so they only have to drive to Irle and East Side. He said most high school freshmen drive. Parents also want the junior high taken out of the high school building.
The meeting was held at Irle School, with a tour of the building held beforehand. Principal Rachel Erickson pointed out some of the reasons why Irle, a 54-year-old building, has reached the end of its useful life. The electrical circuits are too overloaded to support modern technology and can’t be expanded through the concrete block walls. Bathrooms and ramps are not ADA-compliant. The building is failing fire code because of wood paneling and the fire doors in one hallway. There is asbestos in floor tiles and pipe insulation.
Once the boilers are turned on, the heat is on all the time with no way to regulate it in individual rooms. There is no air exchange in the building, which creates poor air quality. The plumbing is embedded in the slab foundation, making repairs to the corroded pipes difficult or impossible. A sewer gas smell comes up through drainpipes of the classroom sinks.
On the outside, the siding is rotting, the sidewalks are drifting from the building and the back wall of the gym is falling away.
The staff is making do with the limitations, but at the roundtable discussion before the board meeting started, they sounded eager to get on with designing the new building. They want to make sure the public in the Glasgow School District is aware of the need for the new building when the vote on the school bond comes up in March.
The district will ask voters to approve two bonds totaling $18.5 million. Dirkes said the cost for the owner of a $100,000 house would be $152 a year. If the Keystone XL pipeline comes through Valley County, the company’s contribution in taxes would lower the citizens' tax bill for the school bond by half, and perhaps a good deal more, according to Connors.
In connection with the building project, the board decided to hire an owner’s representative to look out for the school district’s interest during the process. They also hired Dorsey and Whitney and their bond counsel, to make sure the bond issue is done correctly.
As of Dec. 7, enrollment in the Glasgow School District was 820. Glasgow is one of the bigger Class B schools, according to Willie Thibault, who was recently voted Athletic Director of the Year by the Northeast Montana Athletic Directors’ Association.
The next school board meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. in the administration building.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This