Survey says

Response shows support for school facility plans, referendum
by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH - With an unexpectedly high return rate of over 20 percent, the results of the community-wide survey concerning proposed facility plans have given the Plymouth School Board a healthy indication that the proposal should go to referendum.

About 7,500 surveys were mailed out, and over 1,500 responses were received, two-thirds of them online. Some 70 percent of those responding suggested the referendum, while about 62 percent indicated they would support borrowing the $31.9 million needed to finance the upgrades.

The survey and its results are the latest development in a process that has taken well over a year to get to this point.

By this time last year the district’s Leadership Team had studied and developed a complete list of facility changes needed for the future. It then prioritized this list based on each item’s importance and urgency, then worked with its architect to explore ways to address the top priorities.

Last June the district hired Miron Construction as project manager to help with design specifications and project estimates. It also formed a subcommittee which began meeting regularly to explore ways to address the priorities. In August and September they conducted community member focus groups to get feedback.

And in October and November, School Perceptions Inc., an independent Wisconsin firm with experience in school district surveys, helped develop and conducted the survey to obtain widest possible feedback.

Specific areas of concern were listed at three schools — Parkview Elementary, Fairview Elementary and the high school. Concerns at the other two, Horizon and Riverview, could be handled within the normal budgeting process, it was determined.

At the high school, it is felt that a renovated main office area would better control visitor access. School bus lanes would be separated from vehicle drop-off areas. Existing science classrooms would receive modernized labs which would facilitate experiments and team problemsolving, creating a strong foundation in support of the Science & Technology Center and the Food Science & Agriculture Center.

Participation in culinary arts classes has increased significantly, creating a need for additional kitchen equipment. New curriculum in the high-demand health science career area would include pre-nursing and medical terminology classes, requiring additional classrooms.

Kitchen and cafeteria expansion: original to the building, these spaces are in need of updating. Redesigning the cafeteria more as a commons would be more inviting and useful to students. Centralized offices: Centralized District and Community Ed & Rec offices would enhance visitor access.

New Fitness Center and girls locker room: The girls locker rooms were built when they just played intramurals and are no longer adequate for the number of girls in physical education classes and competitive sports. The basement Fitness Center lacks adequate ventilation and is too small to meet student and community needs.

Multi-purpose indoor facility: A versatile facility could be used in a wide variety of ways for physical education, academic programming, community events and recreation, lifetime fitness activities, and school and community youth groups (including soccer, baseball, softball, golf, football, cross country, track and field, and marching band practice).

At Fairview school — originally built in 1956 and opened in 1957, with updates/additions in 1985 — these needs are paramount:

A secure entrance: a relocated main office would better control visitor access. A two-court gymnasium: The small size of the existing gym limits class and community wellness activities. A cafeteria and kitchen: students currently are served in a hallway and eat in the foyer. Art and music classrooms: current art room is in the basement, has no natural light and does have accessibility issues. Air conditioning: a building-wide HVAC update would create a better learning environment.

Parkview Elementary School. Opened in 1957, Parkview had updates and additions in 1960 and 1985. While the building has been well-maintained, the following needs have been identified:

Secure entrance: A relocated main office would better control visitor access. A two-court gymnasium: The small size of the existing gym limits class and communi- ty wellness activities. Expanded cafeteria and kitchen: The existing facilities are too small and outdated to serve the current student enrollment. Expanded air conditioning: A buildingwide HVAC update would create a better learning environment.

Survey respondents showed support for all proposed projects, particularly more secure entrances at all. The board will consult survey results as it proceeds with the project.

• • •

In personnel matters, all developments involved support staff members.

• Holly Robinson, food service employee, has submitted her resignation after two years with the district.

• Special Education Aide Jolene Zirtzlaff has submitted her resignation after one year with the district.

• Lisa Haack has submitted her resignation after one year with the district.

• Peggy Ellis, special education secretary, has retired after 22 years’ service to the district.

• Stephani Newby has been hired as an administrative assistant in the Community Education and Recreation office.

• Carly Lenz has ben hired as the Community Education director of wellness.

• Laura Wilmot has been hired as a custodian at PHS.

• Gloria Bach has been hired as a custodian at Riverview.

• Sandra Pha has been hird as a special education aide at Horizon.

• Bobbie Norlander has been hired as a special education aide at PHS.

• Elizabeth Lau has been hired as a special education aide at Horizon.

• • •

The board acepted the following gifts and donations:

• $250 from Nicole McEvoy for the Forensics team.

• $530.83 from Parkview PTK for transpoortation to the Henschel Museum, Eden Quarry and for student assignment notebooks.

• $134.14 from Fairview PTO for transportation to Bookworm Gardens.

• $214.57 from Horizon PATH for transportation to the Eden Quarry.

• An anonymous donation of $4,000 for improvements the PHS varsity soccer field.

• An anonymous donation of $30,000 improvements to the PHS varsity soccer field.

• • •

The board approved two outof state travel requests.

The first was from PHS German teacher Sandy Nicholson to travel with students to the Chicago German Christmas Market on Dec. 4. The request is in agreement with board policy and expenses are the responsibility of the students involved and/or their parents.

The second request was from Riverview World Language Teachers Jessica Barrington and Trudy Cohn to travel with students to participate in the Concordia Language Villages Immersion program on April 10-22, 2018, in Minnesota. Expenses will be the responsibility of the students involved and/or their parents.


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