DIXON – As the Strategic Planning Committee continues to gather information about forming a long-term plan for the school district, funding and community support have been identified as concerns.
The committee met Monday night with representatives from GreenAssociates to review how the district could begin to plan for the future of Dixon Public Schools. The committee previously met with representatives from Arcon Associates Inc. to do the same.
Superintendent Michael Juenger said the mettings were informational and not necessarily presentations to get the district's business. The committee will discuss how to proceed with planning at its next meeting on March 13.
Monday, committee members were asked about their hopes and apprehensions about a long-term plan.
Among the most common concerns listed by the dozen members present were funding and costs, community support, and getting the message to the community.
Among the hopes were to create a unified vision for the plan, to plan for the needs of future students, and to bring the community together.
The fate of the high school building, and whether it could be utilized in the long-term plan, also was discussed. It could cost more to renovate the iconic building, which committee members say has a strong connection to the community, than to build a new high school.
Considering the assets the building has is important, said Amy Yurko, of BrainSpaces. She presented as a consultant with the GreenAssociates members, and talked about the science and psychology of designing schools.
Often, representatives from GreenAssociates said, older buildings – like Dixon High School – are good for adapting and renovating. The "bones," they said, are good, like high ceilings and a lot of natural light.
Addressing some of the concerns about getting the support of the community for what could be an expensive project, Colin Marshall, of GreenAssociates, said presenting a unified plan to justify the end result could make passing a bond referendum easier.
GreenAssociates also recommended getting the students and community involved and informed before getting too close to a bond referendum.
The Strategic Planning Committee next meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at Dixon Public Schools' central office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road.
Go to www.DixonSchools.org or call the school district's central office at 815-284-7722 for more information.