Janesville29.6°

Parkview considers another referendum

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 15, 2013

ORFORDVILLE--It's not 1964.

Parts of buildings aren't entirely safe.

And if you want to unjam your locker, Mrs. Peterson currently has the giant Craftsman screwdriver to get it open.

All those issues came up at Tuesday's meeting at the Parkview High School gym where school district representatives made an impassioned—and comprehensive—plea for a referendum.

An estimated 125 people showed up to hear school board members, staff and members of a long-range facility planning committee lay out building and remodeling options that ranged from $9 million to $20 million.

In April 2012, district voters rejected a referendum that would have added 13 classrooms and a gym to the elementary school.

The high school was built in 1964 and other district buildings are even older.

“I've heard a lot of people say, 'It was good enough for me in 1964, why isn't it good enough for the kids today?' ” said Parkview Elementary School Principal Karen Strandt-Conroy. “But it's not 1964.”

In 1964, school districts didn't have to accommodate special education students, nor did very many girls participate in sports. In addition, students are now required to work more collaboratively and technology needs have changed radically.

Parkview High School Principal William Trow said that his band room is so packed with students that it would make an emergency exit from the room a challenge. The brick walls in the high school gym are about 3 feet from the baseline of the basketball court.

Superintendent Steve Lutzke said if district residents don't approve a referendum, it would cost an estimated $1.09 million to do the required repairs and upgrades.

Some of the problems have become a running joke.

“They're working on those lockers every day,” Lutzke said. “Now who is it that has the giant Craftsman screwdriver we use for unjamming the lockers—Mrs. Peterson?”

Last spring, the district held feedback sessions, and developed referendum scenarios to address the issues. They include:

n Option A, the option preferred by the planning committee, would close Parkview Primary School, convert Parkview Elementary School into a junior high and high school and convert the current high school into a school for fourth- to sixth-grade students. Cost: $17 million.

n Option B would close Parkview Primary, making the elementary school into a 4K to third-grade campus and expanding/converting the current junior high/high school into a larger building for students in fourth grade to high school. Cost: $20 million.

n Option C would add a new gym to the high school, keep Parkview Primary open and provide upkeep for the current buildings.

The board and the planning committee will collect feedback from Tuesday's meeting before deciding how to go forward.

“Everything is open to discussion,” said Clay Hammes, school board president. “Nothing is written in stone.”



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