March 24, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

— Fix Or Repair Daily

I am the owner of two Model T Fords that were made in the early 1900’s. Old cars are a lot of fun, but I know from first hand experience that they just aren’t practical as everyday transportation. Fix Or Repair Daily isn’t just a joke but is expected with antique equipment. If you look at some of the school buildings in Chickasha, they are also antiques and were built in 1917, 1929, 1930, and 1950. Even though they were built with pride and have lasted along time, they just aren’t the best for daily use any more either. The “Fix Or Repair Daily” description accurately applies to a few of them. Some of our oldest buildings are still in use while others of a similar age have already been taken out of service, (North, Northwest, South) for grades 1-12. The old West school (1930) was originally elementary classrooms (1-6) but now serves to accommodate early childhood activities.

Over the years (to put a bandage on the loss of classroom facilities and fit expanded needs), it was necessary to remodel and build add-ons. Some of the add-ons and remodels are now very old - at one the roof collapsed. Bandaging our already aged buildings just made the Fix Or Repair Daily problem get even larger. A few members of the school board recognized this situation (sometimes called a Money Pit) and asked for help from the community to create a plan to climb out and not just dig the hole deeper. Emphasis was placed on a long-range plan and not just short term needs. This group (of your fellow citizens) was invited to tour all of the buildings in detail to get an accurate picture of the facilities. As a participant, I was impressed that we were given complete and immediate access to any area of any building we wanted to examine. I was also impressed that the group had no l imitations on participation and that anyone from the community could freely voice their opinion or suggestions. When the Long Range Planning Committee examined the buildings it observed by professional architectural examinations. Replacing the old school buildings was given top priority right after the lab additions to the High School (that were required to comply with state education standards). I want to emphasize that these were your fellow citizens that made the recommendations - not a selected group, and that everyone in Chickasha was free to participate. The group also discussed how postponing the projects would only make it even more expensive in the future due to increased labor and material costs.

After the committee activities were completed, interest rates started dropping and it has become even more favorable for the taxpayers to issue new bonds. The taxpayers may not get such favorable rates in the future (and other costs will increase) so there is a definite advantage to acting now. It also should help businesses that supply materials. In the longer term, I believe that it will also help us attract new employers. (It just doesn’t impress anyone from out of town to see that their kids will have to go to school in a Model T building - they run away as fast as they can.)

The Chickasha School Bond Election is needed to reduce the “Fix Or Repair Daily” costs and replace some of our Model T age buildings. If you weren’t able to participate in the planning meetings, I hope that you will join your friends and neighbors who did by voting YES on the Chickasha School Bond on April 6th.

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