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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Madison School Board to Hear Facilities Report

MDL notes that the Madison Central School Board will hear the eagerly anticipated facilities report at its Monday night meeting. Sioux City architects Neumann Monson Wictor will tell us how good a shape the 40-plus-year-old high school building is in.

Keep your ears open on this one: Renovating the high school is supposed to be the next big capital outlay project for the district. After building a new middle school and elementary school, the high school is due for some updates, like moving the main office east and opening it up for better visibility, fixing the bathrooms (and maybe adding a couple?), and replacing seats and upgrading equipment in the auditorium. (Wish list: tear out that concrete/tile stage floor and give the theater kids a real wooden floor to work on!)

But whatever high school project may ensue will also give some fiscal cover to the folks who want to build another gym for the district. Expect something along the lines of, "Well, if we're spending all this money, why don't we add on that new gym while we're at it?"

Careful here: let's not get distracted from our priorities. The high school needs work first. It is the space in which students and teachers carry out the primary mission of the district. The high school has facilities that are substandard and out of date. A bigger gym with more seats might be a nice luxury, but let's get the important work done first and deal with accommodating more spectators separately.


  1. The gym idea is dead unless it is privately funded or a combination of funding sources like the City, Booster Club, School District and County together.

    Randy Schaefer and Bud Postma's big push for a $6 Million Gym fizzled because there was no follow-through after they proposed it.

    There won't be any traction for a new gym regarding the High School facilities report. That report will focus on moving the high school office east for security reasons and efficiency, upgrading the 44-year old bathrooms, addressing the seating and infrastructure of the auditorium and making the high school library efficient and accessible to those who are handicapped and elderly.

    There are other needs in the high school building, but this certainly is no smoke screen for a new gym. These will be defined needs and improvements.

  2. I guess if you lived in your house for 44 years, you'd have to do some updating, so it makes sense that the high school, built in the early 60's, needs some attention. More legroom in the auditorium for sure.

  3. IMO the idea of th gym also failed because the proponents were less than honest about the costs and monetary benefits to the city of Madison, plus the fact that the majority of the funding for the following 20 years or so was to come only from a segment of the taxpayers who weren't going to benefit from it.

  4. How can you say nobody would benefit from it? How many kids, parents, grandparents and relatives would enjoy band concerts, gymnastics meets, job fairs, craft shows and sports activities in a larger community facility similar to those in Lennox, Chester and Dell Rapids. If it ever gets built, it needs to be a community effort, not just a few elite businessmen looking for a fancy building for their kids to play in.

  5. Just don't forget, Anon, that while we wait for that community effort to materialize, we have more immediate facility needs in the high school to handle, improvements that will directly support the school district's primary mission.

  6. I didn't say nobody would benefit from it. All I said is that the majority of the funding was to have come from people who would not have reaped much benefit from it.

    I agree if it is to be built, it needs to be a community effort with monetary input equally from all segments of the taxpaying public, from the city, from businesses, etc. And the proponents need to be willing to monetarily support it as well, which was not happening last time!


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