The Fieldcrest Building Committee approved changes made to the design of the new high school and middle school based on comments made at the last Board of Education meeting. The changes increase the estimated budget from $28.5 million to $29 million.
The hallways in the high school were shortened in length for security reasons by placing concession area walls in the middle of the corridor. In addition, the school board was concerned about the smaller size of some of the class rooms. The new design makes the smallest class room 850 square feet. This elimination of smaller class rooms makes it possible for teachers to have the same class room for all their classes. The smaller class rooms would have required teachers to move from class room to class room and the board was concerned that this would become a bargaining issue with the teachers union.
The class sizes for the middle school design were also increased to make each class room size at least 850 square feet compared to 784 square feet in the previous design. The concern of having the smaller class sizes in the original design was that the class rooms would be too small to accommodate additional students if one of the Fieldcrest buildings were closed and students would be transferred to the proposed middle school. As committee member Scott Hillenburg said, "We don't want to cut corners just so we can meet a budget".
One of the committee members was concerned that the taxpayers are not being told on how much the new buildings will increase their taxes. Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley said he has reported that a bond issue for $21 million dollars payable in 20 years would raise the taxes for a $100,000 home by around $300. Dr. Oakley said that right now the school has a debt limit of $21 million.
Fieldcrest board member Scott Hillenburg, who is also a member of the building committee, said if the referendum fails, he will recommend that the Fieldcrest high school be repaired rather than constructing a new building.
It was erroneously reported on this website that the budget was increased from $25 to $29 million at the last board meeting. In fact, the budget for the original design was $28.5 million. The latest changes to the design now increases the budget to $29 million.