Clinton schools inch toward referendum

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CLINTON - The campus-wide facility study to determine if modernization would benefit the Clinton School District is completed and could lead to a potential referendum in November of 2018.

Representatives from Eppstein Uhen Architects presented highlights of the newly completed study Monday night in a news conference and at the district's board meeting.

Superintendent Jim Brewer said the Board of Education voted to move forward with a campus-wide facility study last spring. An architect was hired, and JP Cullen was brought on board to provide cost estimates.

On Monday, Project Manager with Eppstein Uhen Architects Tory Schulz explained the assessment's scoring system of 1 to 5, with 5 being like new and 1 being critical.

Clinton's elementary and middle school were each built in the 1950s, while the high school opened 2001. The elementary school scored 2.2. The middle school scored 2.4, and the high school scored 3.5.

The maintenance and bus barn scored 3.5 and the stadium scored 3.7.

Brewer said both Clinton elementary and middle schools have challenges due to their age of 60-plus years, with many basic building systems failing and past life expectancy. Although considered "new" at age 17, the high school has repair needs including the roof and building exterior. Site drainage issues are significant at the track and football field/stadium.

"The buildings are beyond showing their age. We as a community need to make a decision what we are going to do," Brewer said.

The assessment found the elementary, middle and high schools are generally under student capacity for the current enrollment of 1,100 students. However, several spaces at the high school have been deemed undersized for modern programming needs, including the tech education areas, cafeteria and gym. The schools also lack flexible learning spaces and furniture which could better support modern programming.

The next step will be for the construction management firm JP Cullen to begin establishing preliminary cost estimates with the items in the assessment.

In winter the district will be discussing costs and tax impact with a community workshop scheduled for March of 2018. A community survey will mailed out to residents in April and May, with the results to the board and community in June. The project scope such as cost and tax impact should be finalized in July with the board to potentially adopt referendum resolutions in August. Potential referendum information and outreach will be done September through November, with a vote set for the Nov. 6, 2018 election.

Brewer stressed there have been no decisions or recommendations yet regarding what upgrades will be done or whether or not there will be a referendum.

"It's an exciting time for us to do this study and get a breakdown of where we are at," he said. "Now we can work on the engagement process to see what we want to do as a community."

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