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Voters tour school needs

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 11, 2008
— Leaky roofs.

Dim hallways.


And air pressure so unbalanced Dad would shake his finger at how much cold air gets in.


Those were some of the items Turner School District Administrator Dennis McCarthy and Ralph Warn, director of buildings and grounds, pointed out on a tour of the Turner Middle and High School building Monday night.


The presentation was the second of three leading up to an April 1 referendum. The next tour is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, starting at the district office, 1237 Inman Parkway, Beloit.


The referendum will ask district voters two questions:


-- Should the district spend $6.1 million to address immediate facility needs at Turner middle/high school, 1231 Inman Parkway, Beloit, Powers Elementary School, 620 Hillside Drive, Beloit and the district office?


-- Should the district spend $2.5 million to expand and improve the middle/high school stadium and buy land to build a new school in the future? The district is considering 40 acres about a quarter mile north of the current middle/high school property.


The improvements will address the immediate needs of the aging buildings, McCarthy said. The middle/high school was built in the 1960’s, and much of the infrastructure is original.


Improvements will breathe 20 to 30 more years of life into the buildings, McCarthy said.


Highlights of the tour included:


-- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning issues.


“It’s hard to show you HVAC issues, and that’s a big part of this,” McCarthy said. “Probably $2.5 million of it is the HVAC-type issues. Air handling, pressure balancing, air conditioning and boiler replacement … that’s a big part of getting this facility up and running efficiently.”


In some non-air-conditioned classrooms on the south side of the building, temperatures get up to 100 degrees when it’s 85 degrees outside, McCarthy said.


-- Track and football stadium


The tour didn’t trek out to the stadium, but McCarthy said everything but the concession stand is in bad shape. The track, sound system, press box, bleachers and lights all need to be upgraded, McCarthy said.


-- Lighting


“A lot of it has to do with discoloration in the panels that are above and the lockers in general,” McCarthy said. “When you look at a fresh, newer look, newer lockers … that really brings this facility up to a level that’s something the community can look at and say, ‘…It looks like it’s got another 45 years in it.’”


-- Lockers


Not only are the lockers in tough shape, many are too far away from the classrooms, limiting supervision, McCarthy said.


“We can do a little bit better with (the space) we have, and certainly with the quality of them we can do a little bit better,” McCarthy said. “They’re pretty run down.”


-- Auditorium


The house lights are poor, so guests sometimes trip on the stairs. Stage lights are “non-functional,” and the sound system often cuts out during student performances, McCarthy said.


Also, the air handling systems for the auditorium and the library are connected. Heating the library also heats the auditorium, even though the auditorium is used less often.


TO LEARN MORE

For more information about the April 1 referendum in the Turner School District:


-- Visit the district’s Web site at www.fjturner.k12.wi.us


-- E-mail questions to referenduminfo@fjturner.k12.wi.us


-- Call the referendum hotline at (608) 364-6372 ext. 837


-- Attend the facility tour at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, followed by an information session at 6:30 p.m. at the Turner middle/high school library


District to negotiate 4K deal

The Turner School District will negotiate a contract with Kiddie Ranch Child Care Centers, 1400 E. Inman Parkway, to expand its options for 4-year-old kindergarten this fall.


The district had planned to hold a trial period and limit the number of 4K participants, but the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction looks favorably on districts that make 4K available to all children, Powers Elementary School Principal Sue Brandenburg said.


The district is about halfway through writing a grant for money to run the program.


The district plans to have 4K for 2.5 hours per day four days a week, Brandenburg said. One teacher and one teacher’s aid will work with 15 students at a time.


The district plans to have about 60 4-year-olds in the program.


The district will hold an informational session and tours for parents at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Kiddie Ranch and 6:30 the same night at Powers Elementary, 620 Hillside Drive, Beloit.


Laura Jo Pearson owns three Kiddie Ranch childcare centers in the Beloit area and went into a 4K contract with the Beloit School District in the fall of 2007, she said.



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