WATCH: East Elementary addition, other projects included in Milton referendum
MILTON—Although a new high school is the main component of Milton's referendum, the school district would do a handful of other projects if the proposal passes.
An 8,000-square-foot addition at Milton East Elementary would add enough classroom space to get students out of the building's basement, District Administrator Tim Schigur said.
Art and music classes are held in the East basement. Because those are classes all students must take and the facility has no elevator, kids with physical disabilities are unable to attend school there, he said.
Instead, those students must go to West Elementary, even if they live across the street from East.
The district knew it wanted to keep this project in the referendum even though it needed to cut costs from last year's proposal. The East addition will allow the school to relocate art and music classrooms to ADA-compliant areas of the building, Schigur said.
“It restricts learning because it restricts some kids from actually going down there. There are some kids with disabilities who cannot physically go down stairs,” he said. “There's no elevator in the school. It's discriminatory in the sense that there's no ADA accessibility to those classrooms.”
Communications Supervisor Jerry Schuetz called it a “social justice issue” to force students with physical disabilities to go elsewhere because of school building limitations at East.
The school district also would need to pay for infrastructure upgrades on High Street and John Paul Road. It initially budgeted $750,000 for those projects, but estimates from a Strand Associates traffic study showed those costs would likely be higher.
High Street improvements are estimated to cost between $960,000 and $1.09 million. Upgrades on John Paul Road could cost between $490,000 and $550,000, according to the study.
The estimates are not actual bids and could be lower once the district seeks a contractor. If the projects total more than the budgeted $750,000, the district has enough flexibility to make adjustments, Schigur said.
The rest of the money could come from the district's regular budget or from cost savings in other areas of the referendum, he said.
In earlier discussions, the city and town of Milton told the district they were not planning on upgrading High Street or John Paul Road. That meant the school district would need to pay for the projects.
But Strand Associates determined the intersection of High Street and John Paul Road needed improvements regardless of whether a new high school is built. That was unexpected, and if the referendum passes, the district could rekindle talks with the city and town and have the municipalities pay for some of the cost, Schigur said.
Other work under an approved referendum includes filling in the pool at the current high school and converting it to classroom space. The auto shop now at the high school would become band storage, and the district would make minor safety upgrades at building entrances.