Time to Repair School Facilities

It’s Time to Repair School Facilities (Print PDF)

The time has come. Emmett Middle School was built in 1954 with the “new” addition added in 1972. It is a solid building that needs a major remodel to continue to provide safe, clean, and high quality learning environments for our students.

The first issues that must be addressed are the electrical, heating, and air conditioning systems. They are old, outdated, and cause major disruptions to the teaching and learning of our students. One of the innovations that had a significant impact on productivity in America in the 1940’s and 1950’s was the installation of air conditioning in office buildings and factories. Most of the Middle School has no air conditioning. It is time to increase the productivity of our middle school students with modern, efficient, heating, and air conditioning systems.

On any day you can walk down the second floor of the middle school. The rooms on the East end are 80 to 90 degrees. As you move down the hall they are closer to 68 degrees. Last winter a major circulation pump failed on a cold Sunday night; it was a one year old pump, but the modern control systems that notifies staff when something goes wrong were not available in 1954. So overnight the heat exchangers in 7 rooms froze. Replacement parts do not exist. The new parts had to be created from scratch with the design coming from one of the broken units that was shipped to the custom manufacture plant in Washington. From January to the end of the year space heaters were used to heat the rooms.

The restroom facilities need to be remodeled, the food preparation and serving facilities need upgrades, classrooms need to be improved, and our science labs need upgrades to meet the needs of today’s education. The Emmett Middle and High schools were built in times where we did not worry about active shooters. We need to build safe and secure entrances to these buildings.

The debate is, do we build new or remodel what we have? It is the same question many homeowners ask themselves. The cost of a new Middle School would be about 35 million dollars. The major remodel will cost about 13.4 million.  The Emmett High School improvements will cost about 4.8 million dollars. With the other two projects, a career technical building for Agriculture Science and Pre-Engineering, and improvements to Shadow Butte, Carberry, and Sweet and Ola the total cost will be about 20.4 million dollars. Repair the schools and build a new Middle School would cost about 42 million dollars.

The Emmett School Boards proposal is for a 20.4 million dollar bond that will not increase the tax rate. It will provide for 4 projects:

  • Complete Remodel of Emmett Middle School
  • Selective Remodel of Emmett High School
  • New Building for Agriculture Science and Pre-Engineering
  • Repairs for Kenneth Carberry, Shadow Butte, & Sweet Montour Elementary Schools

The bond will fund the immediate needs of the district and leaves open the possibility to building a new high school in the future if the county grows and enrollment increases. Gem County voters will go to the polls on March 13th to decide on this proposal.

If you wish to learn more about the Bond and the improvements needed at the schools visit the Emmett School District’s website at https://www.emmettschools.org/. There are descriptions, pictures, and frequently asked questions. If you have questions, please send them to Wayne Rush, Superintendent at wrush@isd221.net.