The Citizens Advisory Committee met this week to discuss closure, demolition or alternative uses for the four elementary buildings, as plans progress for a new communiytwide elementary to replace them.
Several ideas have been aired and will continue to be considered. The school board has set a time line of March to have definite plans for the buildings, but wants to gather public input first.
It is likely that East could be retained as an early childhood center and South may be used for the auditorium and the gym.
There are several ideas for the other two buildings. West and North could be demolished and the land sold for more housing, the buildings could be sold as is to a housing developer, or they could be made available for us by Buena Vista County governmental agencies. With North's location, it could be sold for commercial development along East Milwaukee.
Superintendent Dr. Paul Tedesco stressed that the district will not fund any potential development projects. All ideas will be taken very seriously, he said.
"The board has made it clear - they have no intention of leaving behind an eyesore for the town," he stressed.
One new suggestion was to sell bricks of any building that may be tagged for demolition to anyone who wants a piece of his or her school's history. "That's a good idea," Tedesco said. "There's a lot of memories in those schools.
Another new suggestion for the South building is to use it for the CommUNITY Education office allowing many of the classes to be held in the classrooms or allowing the alternative school, located next door to South in a portable building, to be housed there in a permanent structure.
There appears to be a strain on the high school building as the enrollment continues to grow, partly due to the new charter school program. One of the structures possibly could help alleviate some of that crunch.
Discussions will continue and ideas are welcome.
Volunteers for committees are being sought to assist with the bond issue and local sales tax extension needed to finance the new elementary. Anyone interested in serving on the committee should contact Dr. Tedesco at the school administration building.