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Committee to assess Dixon's aging school buildings

Schielein: Information needed to make decisions

DIXON – A strategic planning committee will evaluate Dixon's aging school buildings, starting later this month.

The committee will make recommendations for possible building consolidations, land acquisition and development, and will include cost estimates, federal and state grants, and funding scenarios.

After the 1-percentage point sales tax referendum failed for a second time in April, board member Jim Schielein said the district did not give the community enough information or acquire enough itself regarding its facilities.

In the referendum's first go-round, the district proposed to build a $10 million to $15 million sports and activities center at The Meadows with the potential funds. The second time, the district said it would make maintenance repairs to its buildings and possibly buy property for a future facility.

Kevin Schultz, the district's building and grounds supervisor, told the committee June 13 that 79 percent of its buildings are more than 50 years old. The historic high school is an 84-year-old structure on a flood plain, and Lincoln Elementary School is 76.

"I think with whatever we decide to do in the future, the public has to be informed and we have to have the information there," Schielein said.

Paul McMahon, assistant superintendent at the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education, is scheduled to meet with the committee Thursday to share how the state evaluates its school facilities.

A checklist will be given to the committee, and members will take 30-minute tours of each of Dixon's schools and outdoor facilities then conduct a 30-minute meeting.

The data will serve as the foundation for the district's long-range plan.

"It's no secret our buildings are aging," Schielein said. "We need to know what we have in order to develop a plan."

The committee has 14 members: Superintendent Michael Juenger, Schultz, board members Schielein and John Jacobs, teachers Elizabeth Bushman and Aaron Eddy, and community members Jon Gieson, Angie Harrison, Deb Drengenberg, Dave Schreiner, Chris Hammitt, Rob LeSage, Tom Shaw and Al Duncan.

Its meetings are open to the public.

To attend

Committee meetings are scheduled through September. Call 815-284-7722 for more information.

Thursday: 7 to 8 a.m. at the district office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road.

July 11: 7 to 8 a.m. at Washington Elementary School, 703 E. Morgan St.

July 18: 7 to 8 a.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, 501 Lincoln Ave.

July 25: 7 to 8 a.m. at Jefferson Elementary School, 800 Fourth Ave.

Aug. 1: 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Reagan Middle School, 620 Division St.

Aug. 8: 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Dixon High School, 300 Lincoln Statue Drive.

Aug. 22: 7 to 8:30 a.m., starting at Dixon High School.

Sept. 12: 7 to 8 a.m.: at the district office.

Sept. 26: 7 to 8 a.m. at the district office.

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