Facilities committee members plan for public forum
Members of the Grand Forks School Board's Facilities Committee reviewed plans on Wednesday night on how it'll present the school district's master facilities plan to a public forum later this month. The committee also discussed how best to gauge ...
Members of the Grand Forks School Board's Facilities Committee reviewed plans on Wednesday night on how it'll present the school district's master facilities plan to a public forum later this month.
The committee also discussed how best to gauge public sentiment on the future of the city's public schools. To that end, a survey will be used at the forum, and online, to gather residents' viewpoints on how the district should manage its facilities, including aging schools that have major heating, ventilation, mechanical or electrical deficiencies.
The focus of the master plan, which has been led since February by JLG Architects, is to assess the condition of facilities to help the School Board make budget decisions and achieve educational equity and efficiency throughout the district.
Of the 19 facilities that have been assessed, "12 have HVAC issues," said Mike McLean, the JLG architect who's leading the facilities planning. "Eight of the 19 have site issues (related to) things like sprinkler systems, layout and gymnasiums."
Scenarios that involve school closures have caused some residents to become anxious, some committee members said.
"People think we're doing this tomorrow," said Cynthia Shabb. "We're not."
The scenarios presented in the plan "are options," said Doug Carpenter, School Board president. "They are not decided. The reason we have options is because we're dealing with educational equity and operational efficiency."
Meggen Sande said she has received input from north side residents who "see this as something against their schools-like their schools are sub-par.
"I see this as an opportunity for people on the north end to have the same kind of schools that people on the south end have. ... It should be about opportunities."
A few committee members pointed to the need, at the public forum, to gain a general understanding of what's important to residents concerning schools, rather than a discussion about individual schools.
The survey distributed at the public forum should be used "to get a sense of people's values, priorities, what's important to them" concerning the schools, said Eric Burin, School Board vice president and chairperson of the Facilities Committee.
The public forum, set for Jan. 22 at South Middle School, will include an overview of the results of the facilities assessment and future options for community discussion.