Beatrice Public Schools Concludes Public Sessions on Facilities

BEATRICE – Beatrice Public School officials have wrapped up a series of lightly-attended public input sessions on facilities needs in the district.  The meeting at Stoddard Elementary School drew about 25 persons.  About one third were parents.  The remainder were students and school officials.

DLR Group architect and planner Pat Phelan detailed projected costs of renovating elementary buildings and the middle school, along with other needs in the district.  Projected replacement costs and facility condition ratings also were compiled.

Some maintain the district hasn’t done enough to seek public input.  School Superintendent Pat Nauroth says the district has tried several avenues to inform the public and get feedback.

:43                  “many people here”

Those who have attended the meetings ranked the top three facility priorities as the Beatrice elementary buildings, the middle school, and athletic park.

Parent Neal Trantham feels attendance has been light because many parents can’t free up evenings to attend, with other activities going on.

:30                  “the difference”

Trantham said the school board, “has a trust problem” in the community.

School officials have been trying to determine a direction on school facilities, since the defeat of two bond issues for a single-site elementary school.  During recent discussion leading to the move to grade-level elementary buildings, Nauroth said public meetings drew only ten to fifteen parents, on an issue that affects about 700 school children.

:25                  “with kids”

Phelan, who has worked with the district for the past four years, says the school board is faced with the question… if not a single-site elementary school, then what?  He says schools are limited by the state on how much they can spend.  The only other way to accomplish building projects is through a public vote.

:34                  “a wrong thing”

Phelan says school districts can control the size and scope of building projects and the quality of building components.  They can’t control the cost of construction.

:15                  “were in”

One of the suggestions from the Stoddard Elementary meeting Wednesday night was the potential of renovating two elementary buildings…Lincoln and Paddock Lane.  Lincoln is only a few blocks away from property that was planned as the site of a new single-location elementary facility.

A fourth public input meeting had been scheduled for next Wednesday night, but will not be held.

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