From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 50 - December 13, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

New elementary school put on hold

by Jennie Oemig

Since Sublette County School District (SCSD) #1 officials met with the School Facilities Commission (SFC) in a special committee in Casper on Nov. 29 and 30, an action item has been added to the Board of Trustees’ December agenda to rescind a June 14 motion to construct a new elementary school in favor of further researching the district’s options.

“I wanted to table it, but you can’t table a motion that has already been made,” Superintendent Doris Woodbury said during the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee (LRFPC) meeting on Monday.

Woodbury then went on to explain why the district is choosing to rescind the motion based on the meeting with the SFC. “They encouraged us to get some consulting services,” she said. “And we talked a lot about the dynamic environment.”

Due to the interest in constructing a new high school instead of an elementary school, as well as the projected enrollment peak in 2015, the district will be looking into hiring a school construction and design specialist who will help in determining which construction projects will best suit the long-term needs of SCSD #1.

And one particular consultant has already gained Woodbury’s interest.

“At the school suitability meeting, there was a consultant whose thinking and ideas resonated with mine,” she said of Frank Locker.

Having contacted other administrators with other school districts in the region that have utilized Locker, Woodbury said the feedback has been good.

“The information we have received is very, very positive,” she explained. “He worked with Evanston, Mountain View and Lyman … I think he’d be worth looking at.”

Locker, who is the vice-president of research for DeJONG, Inc., an educational planning firm, has earned numerous accolades for his work and was honored as Planner of the Year by the Council of Educational Facilities Planners in 1999.

“He’s done a number of five-year or longer plans,” Woodbury noted. “He has a lot of experience, but he’s also talking about cutting-edge education and I like that combination.” After speaking with SFC officials, Woodbury said it was clear that they were supportive of the district researching all of its option before going forth with the construction process.

“They’re good about saying it’s OK,” she said, adding that the commission is also favorable of “turning over every stone to make sure we’re doing the best thing.”

In order to make sure that the district is heading in the right direction and that everyone’s opinions are heard, Woodbury said the SFC will be coming to visit with administrators and faculty members, as well as the LRFPC and the school board.

“The SFC said they would like to come with their folks and participate in an interest-based decision-making process,” she said.

As of now, the district’s main concern is the time frame for determining how to proceed with the project.

“We are feeling a time crunch,” Woodbury said, explaining that she is going to try to schedule the interest-based decision-making process for the end of January or the beginning of February. “We’re going to try to condense that time frame and get a lot done in a short period of time.”

Committee member Jim Malkowski said that, though some community members might be skeptical and not agree with the district’s decision to spend even more time further researching its decision, the right choice has been made.

“Dealing with the facilities commission is going to add more time [anyway],” he said. In the end, Woodbury said that she just wants to make sure the district does what is best for the school system, as well as for the community.

“Sometimes you need to take three steps back to move one step forward,” she said. The SCSD #1 Board of Trustees will meet tonight to vote on the rescission of the motion to build an elementary school and discuss the next steps that will be taken in the school construction process.

In other LRFPC news:

During his report, construction manager Dennis Seipp said things are progressing at the Pinedale Aquatic Center (PAC).

“Things are moving along really well despite being three months behind,” he said. The lobby floor has been stained and PAC Director JJ Huntley has moved into her office, Seipp informed the committee.

After the fire marshal’s walk-through last week, during which the alarm system was thoroughly tested, Seipp said there have been some minor issues that need attention. “[The fire marshal] no more than got in his car and drove off when we completely smoked the alarm panel,” he said, adding that a new panel is already on order.

The racquetball courts are finished, the gym floor covering is on its way and the material for the track has arrived, though it will not be able to be installed until the moisture levels are appropriate, Seipp said.

Seipp also reported that workers CEM Aquatics removed the stains on the liner and patched the leisure pool on Monday, with the hope that it would be filled on Tuesday. Where is all of the water going? That’s the very question PAC officials would like to have answered, though it appears to have everyone, including the workers who installed the spa pool, stumped.

“CEM came back today and all they could do was scratch their heads,” Seipp said. “We don’t know where it’s at.”

Though some committee members suggested that the water lines might be leaking, Seipp said they had all been tested and were not the source.

“All of them have pressure on them all the time,” he explained, adding that the pool, which, when filled, has been leaking about 1,000 gallons of water a day, will not be refilled until the problem is resolved.

Pointing out that there is a lot of concrete underneath the pool area, Business and Finance Director Vern McAdams said the crew might want to start its search there.

“It’s potentially a big problem,” he said. The next LRFPC meeting will be held on Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administration Building.

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