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District’s strategic planning continues

Data regarding cost of building maintenance to be shared soon

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The fact-finding mission continues.

A strategic planning committee plans to meet and later this month tour the Rochelle school district, which has built new facilities, and another school district of similar size that has invested in its aging buildings over time.

The idea is to see how each path worked for those school districts, said board member Jim Schielein.

The 14-member committee is working to create a vision for district facilities covering the next 5, 10 or 15 years. It will make recommendations to the school board for possible building consolidation, land acquisition and development, and will include cost estimates, federal and state grants, and funding options.

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

The committee has toured each of the district’s buildings, including outdoor facilities and a special tour geared toward assessing security.

A tour of Dixon High School caught the attention of some members for the amount of work it may need put into it. For example, its mechanical building has two large boilers operating inefficiently – one of them dates back to the 1956 addition.

Now the committee wants to see what other districts have done when facing similar challenges.

“We want to find a couple of districts with a similar population, similar [property tax revenue],” said Superintendent Michael Juenger. “What’s trying to be determined now, are we better off trying to repair as opposed to replace?”

Board members John Jacobs and Schielein plan to meet with Juenger and Building and Grounds Supervisor Kevin Schultz to come up with a range of costs to maintain Dixon’s facilities from the bare minimum to “wish list”-type items, Schielein said.

“These will be straightforward numbers, but we’ll want to give them in a range, so the committee can see it broken down,” Schielein said. “They’ll be broken down item by item.”

The committee, which has been meeting Thursday mornings since June, may schedule future meetings in the evening so more people can attend. The meeting are open to the public, Schielein said.

Also on the committee are 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.

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