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Community lays out desires for school facilities

Posted by: tdt -

Community lays out desires for school facilities

Dalhart Independent School District residents had another chance to hash out what improvements they would like to see in the district’s schools at a special meeting of the school board of trustees on Thursday evening. The meeting was one in a series of community meetings designed to find out what facility improvements are most pressing for the district’s school children.
School Board President Bob Bailey asked the large crowd in attendance at the district administration office what facilies - if any - need to be replaced.

“We (the board of trustees) don’t have a plan of what we want to do, as of today,” Bailey said. “That’s what we’re having these meetings for is to come up with this plan.”

The crowd of more than 100 people broke into small groups to discuss what they would like to see. The trustees will talk about what the community came up with at a future meeting.

“We want input from y’all,” Bailey told the crowd. “If this was something that the board was going to do, we would have already come up with a plan and presented it to you and that’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get input from everybody on this and go in a direction that we can sell to the community if we’re going to propose a bond to be placed on the ballot in November or at any time in the future.”

Rob Sidebottom of Gallagher Construction Management said his company did an assessment of the school district’s facilities in 2018 that determined what needed to be done. He said the most pressing need was at the intermediate School, with various other needs at the district’s other schools.

“We try to give you the information on where we are (in the process) and now you all need to tell us where you think you might want to go so that we can start doing the homework,” Sidebottom said.

Sidebottom also said the community meetings will also determine whether the district needs to call for a bond election.

“We’re not working because you all want to call a bond in November,” Sidebottom said. “Nobody is saying we’re calling a bond in November. We’re going to have the meetings, then you all can do with the information whatever you want whenever you want.”

But if the community recommends a bond election in November, they would need to make that recommendation by July so the board of trustees could make a determination to call for it by the Aug. 22 deadline.

“We can always have that recommendation and not do anything with it until next year, or ever,” Sidebottom added.

Gallagher identified needs at each campus, including light renovation at the elementary and junior high schools, and minor needs at the high school such as an ag barn and more student parking. But the intermediate school has been identified by the construction company, the school district and the community as the campus in need of the most improvement or possible replacement.

“If you’re in this room and you don’t know that’s probably your biggest need, we probably need to start over,” Sidebottom said. “What our assessment told us about the intermediate (school) was if it’s gonna cost a dollar to replace the building and it’s gonna cost 82 cents to renovate it and anything over 50 percent - if you have the ability to do so - it’s a better spend to build a new building.”

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. where the trustees will consider and select an architectural firm for building projects.

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