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What’s best for the students?

Having recently gone through the new home construction process, I know there are numerous decisions to be made, not all easy ones. But I also have the option to sell my home if I decide I don’t like it or I want something different.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that for school corporations.
The North Harrison Community School Corp. School Board of Trustees has been struggling for several months now over what to do about the elementary school at the Ramsey campus.
The facility was considered top of its class when it opened in the mid-1980s. With the new concept of ‘pods’ for multiple classrooms, the school also was constructed out of concrete with dirt placed over much of it, creating a safe building for an area that still recalled the deadly tornadoes that passed through Harrison County in April of 1974.
But now, education ‘experts’ don’t recommend that type of classroom setting, and the North Harrison Elementary School is deteriorating. Less-than-ideal air circulation may be affecting the health of teachers and students.
The five members of the school board are ready to do something about the situation. They’ve been doing their homework, researching the possibilities, visiting other schools, engaging experts for professional advice, and listening to the staff, parents and taxpayers about their preferences.
Four main principles are being considered:
1) Updating the HVAC system, possibly remodeling existing classrooms, maybe adding on a computer lab, plus removing the dirt and putting on a conventional roof;
2) Updating the HVAC, removing the dirt and adding a second story of classrooms above those on the ‘ground’ floor, which will be remodeled;
3) Saving the gymnasium and cafeteria while constructing all new classrooms and demolishing the old rooms;
4) Building a new facility in a different location and demolishing the current building.
A decision could be reached as early as Dec. 8, at the next regular school board of trustees meeting.
The board members have a hefty decision to make, one that will, in all likelihood, increase property taxes, including their own as well as mine. But I am confident they will seriously consider other things, maybe even more important aspects, besides the cost of the project, such as: what is best for the children who will spend much of their young formative years inside the North Harrison Elementary School and having a completed project that will last the school corporation at least another 25 years.
We can’t sell what they come up with, and we don’t want property tax increases too often due to construction projects.

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