The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Education

June 20, 2014

Board trims renovation options

MILES – Ron Regenwether, a board member of the Easton Valley Community School District, said that in many ways, the recent merger between Preston and East Central did as much to divide the two communities as unify them.

Now, as the district enters its second year since forming, the board is seeking to earn back community approval as it mulls a number of highly involved developments.

A larger-than-normal turnout to Easton Valley’s Thursday board meeting was highlighted by a presentation indicating the district can pursue six infrastructural options with the use of recently acquired 1 percent sales tax and Physical Plant and Equipment Levy authority. Both measures were passed during a February election and allow the district to generate facility improvement funds.

Regenwether said it’s important for the district to use those funds judiciously, as the decision to pursue a major project is vital to the district’s health.

“The community, as a byproduct of the merger, is very, very divided,” he said. “It’s there now. So we’re very aware that this community is going to be divided. We want these communities to flourish. That’s one of the reasons we want to do construction in both (Preston and Miles). We want these communities to thrive.”

Sam Johnson, director of the pre-K-12 design studio at BLDD architects, spearheaded the discussion by spelling out more fleshed-out renovation plans than had been previously seen publicly. The architects provided a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis that showed which of the six options were most judicious and attainable for Easton Valley to pursue.

School design, these days, has taken on a different mentality, Johnson said.

“Schools are the result of multiple additions,” he said. “They’ve seen sort of this Frankenstein growth because no one looked at the big picture.”

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