The Fieldcrest Board of Education changed plans and settled on building a new high school building in Minonk and a new middle school in Wenona at a Building Committee meeting Wednesday night in Minonk. This was a change from the decision to build a 7-12 building and moving the 6th grade from the Wenona middle school to the intermediate school in Toluca that was arrived at in the previous meeting.
The meeting started off with a discussion on how much it would cost to update the intermediate school in Toluca to accommodate moving the 6th grade to that building. No definite answer was reached on that topic. Then the conversation switched to each board member giving their opinion on what type of building should be constructed. Board member Tim McNamara reiterated his position that a 7 through 12 building be constructed with the 6th grade in Wenona moved to Toluca. This option would leave Wenona without a school building.
Then Charles Lohr said he felt the high school belonged in Minonk but that Wenona should also keep its middle school. He said a new high school should be built in Minonk and a new middle school built in Wenona, tearing down the old buildings that are to be replaced. He said it is important to keep a school in each community and also suggested that the existing gymnasiums in Minonk and Wenona be kept instead of building new ones.
Board member Scott Hillenburg agreed that a new high school should be built in Minonk and was not in favor of a 7-12 building stating that eliminating a school in Wenona will lower property taxes in that community which would result in lower revenue for the school district. He also said the school should hire an independent contractor who will be responsible for making sure that all school buildings are maintained properly.
Board president Joe Kirkpatrick agreed with Mr. McNamara that a 7-12 building should be constructed in order to reduce the number of buildings to be maintained and also to reduce administrative costs.
Board members MyKin Bernardi and Kimberly McKay agreed that a new high school building in Minonk and a new middle school in Wenona should be built.
Board member Elizabeth Palm said she supports Mr. Lohr's recommendation for a new high school and a new middle school. She said it is too expensive to build at a new site with a new gymnasium and ball fields. She did not want to eliminate the middle school in Wenona as it would hurt the community.
Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley said he will go with the assumption that a new middle school will be built on the site of the baseball diamond north of the existing buildings in Wenona and that a new high school will be built somewhere in Minonk. He said the new high school in Minonk would require 30 acres of land and a site must be determined for the building.
Board president Kirkpatrick said that specifications for water, gas and other infrastructure requirements need to be determined and then presented to both the City of Minonk and Wenona to ensure the infrastructure requirements can be met for the sites to be selected for construction.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Oakley commented on the passage of the 1% sales tax for Woodford County in last month's election. He said the school district should receive about $10,000 a month from the tax starting in October.
Dr. Oakley said there will be another Building Committee meeting on April 18.
Chris Winters: One article said there's 50 kids in each class can that be right? If that is the case they're building a new school for 100 kids?? Glad I rent!
Minonktalk: There are approximately 240 students at the Wenona middle school.
Chris Winters: Correct, but your article said 7-8 but the school now has 6-8. So using your number it will be for 140 kids right ??
Minonktalk: The article never mentioned that the new building would have only 7-8. The 7-12 option would have put 6 in Toluca and 7-8 in the new high school but that option was dropped. So the new middle school in Wenona will still have 6-8 as it does now with 240 students.
Chris Winters: Oh thanks Minonktalk
Susan Skaggs: Worst decision ever! I may not be the smartest at mathematics but come on school board! We don't have money to repair the existing buildings but we're going to get the money no matter what it does to the tax payers just to have this almighty new school that probably will be way too big because of attendance! Possibly 6 more years until retirement and getting the heck out of Illinois! You're killing us here people! In 10 years with technology updates every day kids will be learning and being taught at home on by a cyber teacher! No schools to maintain, need only a handful of teachers, etc. think about that! So than you have 2 new buildings sitting empty with outrageous taxes! Good move school board great move!
Edmund Johnson: I was under the impression the last few months they have talked about enrollment dropping that we would not need all the buildings we have now so why would we put two brand new buildings up when the other two buildings in the district seem to be okay. It seems to me we will be shutting down a fairly good building in the next few years so that we can have a new building in Wenona and Minonk. I think our school board and administration should so some courage and build the building in Wenona so each town has their own School.
Shane Fandel: Carissa Fandel
Am I reading this right???
Carissa Fandel: I am afraid you are
Marcia Kettwich: Good decision keeping a school in each community...
Michael Cave: Wow.
Sheila Naylor Healy: Two small schools on their current properties are less expensive with our current gyms. There would also be savings to the tax payer than one large school. This is a VERY IMPORTANT thing that needs to be in the article. The headline is a little misleading. Cost is about 10 million LESS for 2 than one, because of infrastructure, land, water, sewer, tear down of school, all this is HUGE and very costly!! Plus this is important for each of our communities to keep a school, if one community goes down it will bring everyone down because of the EAVâ€™s. This is great for our Fieldcrest Community as a whole!!
Edmund Johnson: Figures lie and Liars figure
Chris Winters: If it is 10M less now what is the total cost of the two projects? Can you share how much for each building? That is good information to know because it looks like a really dumb solution unless they can save this much. Even with all the extra cost of two buildings maybe this is good If they are saving 10m. What I donâ€™t understand is if they have ground or was getting ground for free and everyone has water sewer ect where is the 10 m in savings? A gym??! Or is this 10M in savings just the way for the school to sell us a bad idea. Like I said if they built in any town they would have the water and sewer so the 10m must be by saving the gyms.
Edmund Johnson: Chris you don't think it is cheaper to have two principles instead of one at $100,000 plus each. Plus two science labs and libraries and cafeterias and ground maintenance just for starters