The ultimate Ames Excessive Faculty tour of the summer time was by far probably the most attended of the three and concluded the Ames Group Faculty District’s first stage of attempting to persuade voters new highschool constructing is required.
Practically 100 individuals confirmed up, forcing Services Director Gerry Peters to retrieve extra chairs for the query-and-reply session. In all, about 160 group members attended the three data periods.
Final month, every member of the varsity board stated they supported constructing a brand new highschool, which in keeping with estimates would value about $95 million. The board, nevertheless, doesn’t have the flexibility or the cash to construct the brand new college by itself; it wants a bond referendum to go, and to go that referendum, at the least 60 p.c of voters within the district need to help the measure.
On the earliest, a bond referendum would seem on the poll in April 2018.
“Ninety-5 million , however you wish to wait 20 years and see what it prices then?” Superintendent Tim Taylor requested the viewers.
A group suggestions group, led by Duane Reeves, is main the highschool mission outreach efforts, gauging public help for a brand new college (or a renovated constructing or the choice to do nothing). In just a few weeks, it'll suggest to the board whether or not to proceed with the brand new college mission and begin the bond referendum course of.
Moreover the truth that attendance was so nice those that participated needed to be cut up into two teams, the tour of the constructing Wednesday evening was roughly the identical as the primary two. Tour-goers — former and present college students, mother and father, one metropolis councilwoman and one mayoral candidate — fanned themselves within the air-situation-much less gymnasium, marveled on the underground tunnel resulting in the soccer discipline, frowned on the totally different-sized steps within the auditorium and raised eyebrows on the lengthy, switchbacking ramp for disabled college students exterior the library.
One other fixed theme: The college’s quite a few and unfold-out hallways that make it simple for a newcomer to get misplaced.
“I really feel like a rat in a maze,” one lady stated.
After the excursions, the group peppered Taylor and Reeves with questions in regards to the potential new college. Mum or dad Karen Stein requested if present college students can be consulted on the mission.
“We appear to be lacking the primary customers of the constructing … I believe it’s smart to be used earlier than we transfer ahead (to) attempt to put a committee of scholars collectively,” she stated, saying the highschool pupil in her tour group, senior Hector Arbuckle, was capable of present wanted perception.
Reeves stated members of the group suggestions group who're mother and father have spoken with their youngsters in regards to the standing of the highschool; one in all his daughters instructed him the constructing ought to’ve been knocked down years in the past. He, Taylor and architect Sam Stagg, who’s consulted on the mission, stated they plan to convey college students into the method and get suggestions on the potential new constructing. Arbuckle raised his hand to volunteer for that committee.
Not like the earlier two excursions, nobody within the viewers requested why a brand new highschool was wanted. When Reeves answered that query earlier than, he talked about constructing a extra trendy studying surroundings to learn college students and another excuse: After taking a job in Ames, some professionals would take a look at the dingy look of the highschool and let that issue into their resolution to purchase a house out of city.
“There may be some stigma to this,” Reeves stated. “(A brand new highschool) would possibly solidify that final group who says, ‘I’m not going to go away.’”
He stated he’s heard that concern from new workers members at Iowa State College and from native realtors, and he used to listen to the identical worries in regards to the district’s elementary colleges earlier than they have been rebuilt and renovated. Ames Excessive Faculty has robust teachers, he stated, however not essentially robust sufficient to stop a household from transferring into the Ballard, Gilbert or Ankeny districts, the place there are new excessive colleges and generally cheaper housing.
Earlier than the elementary colleges have been redone, there have been considerations about these buildings’ safety, related considerations that now canine the highschool, which has greater than 80 exterior doorways and varied nooks and crannies across the constructing that makes supervision and surveillance troublesome.
“You’re speaking in regards to the security of my child,” Reeves stated. “I’m not going to place my child in a harmful state of affairs … I might transfer someplace with the identical sort of residence, perhaps even much less of a worth of a house, and virtually the identical schooling, and my child will probably be extra secure due to a extra trendy constructing.”