Edgerton reviews school facility needs as next phase of project begins

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Jim Dayton
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

EDGERTON—Entrance security, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and limited space were repeated talking points Monday during a facilities assessment review at the Edgerton School Board meeting.

Roger Price, an outside consultant the district hired last November, spent nearly a year assessing Edgerton’s school buildings. An advisory committee and other consultants will spend the next several months evaluating Price’s findings to decide if the district needs upgrades.

Price and Kevin Hickman from J.P. Cullen, the district’s construction partner, stressed that no solutions are proposed yet. Tossing around the word “referendum” is too premature, Hickman said.

Price focused on health and safety needs as he summarized his full report, which totaled more than 160 pages.

The district could review its entrance security systems at all four buildings. The current setup of a school official buzzing in a visitor is still better than other districts, Price said.

But some places have a double door entry to improve safety. It’s up to the advisory committee to find the right level of security for Edgerton, he said.

Addressing space needs could become a priority. Price shared a photo of high school students sitting in the hallway to eat lunch.

Other district buildings have limited social and flexible learning spaces. The district will need to determine its future academic direction to see whether more space is needed, Price said.

He also recommended Edgerton look at ADA compliance.

District Administrator Dennis Pauli said they have long known their buildings do not meet modern ADA standards. They are grandfathered in because the facilities are several decades old.

With Price’s report completed, the district will now move into phase two of its facility study. The advisory committee will bring a public voice to facility solution talks.

About 35 people are on the committee. That was Pauli’s target, and he has no plans to go smaller, he said.

The committee is a healthy representation of the district. Parents of current, former and future students make up the majority, with a handful of non-parents and staff members included, Pauli said.

“They want to understand the current facilities,” he said. “We’re looking toward the future of the Edgerton School District. It’s very appealing to determine what that’s going to look like.”

The school board also approved hiring Bray Architects as an architectural consultant. Bray specializes in school construction.

The public might associate an architect firm with new buildings, but Pauli said Bray can help narrow down potential facility solutions.

Once that step is reached, Edgerton will survey the community to gather feedback on which solution, if any, is most realistic.

In other business, the board approved borrowing $1.1 million to cover budget deficiencies. The district got a small bargain because two lenders offered the exact same terms, forcing them to improve their bids, Finance Director Tad Wehner said.

The district used to borrow $4 million to cover deficits, so its finances are moving in a positive direction, Wehner said.

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