U supporters, detractors gather for information
October 21, 2008
A group of about 10 Truckee citizens gathered last Tuesday night to discuss the pros and cons of Measure U, the $93 million bond measure to update the Truckee schools.
If passed, U would add a new, two-story wing to Truckee High School, increase parking at Truckee Elementary School and, as a result, tear down the district’s administrative buildings to make way.
Administrators will move temporarily into the top floor of the new wing at the high school, a move Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Steve Jennings said would last about three years, a move one of the present voters isn’t happy about.
“I think they should use funding from the entire district, (including North Tahoe) to pay for the addition if they are going to house their administrators there,” said Truckee resident Denny Dickinson. “I get very, very nervous when someone tells me they will use it on a temporary basis.”
Dickinson was concerned that the U campaign hadn’t been up-front about their plans for housing administration.
Alison Elder, chairwoman for the Vote Yes on U campaign, and Jennings each voiced their support for the project and filled in residents on some of the specifics of the Nov. 4 bond measure.
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“Measure U is going to provide modern, efficient facilities for our students, it’s going to improve our community and will be an asset and a draw for Truckee,” Jennings said. “I also have no doubt it will help the economy and a lot of that money will trickle down to the people building it and it will provide jobs within the community.”
Elder said the space occupied by administrators before they got a new building wouldn’t be needed for students immediately and would be changed over to classroom space as soon as administration is moved out of the building.
Measure U will be voted on by, and charged solely to, Truckee voters.
Steve Hogan, also a Truckee resident and a father of children currently in the schools said he was enthusiastic in his support of U, especially after finding out his tax money wouldn’t fund permanent district offices.
“For our kids to receive a higher end education they have to take pride in their schools, and I think this will be something that can get that done,” Hogan said.
He pointed to the new athletic fields included in the project as a source of pride for student athletes.
Athletic updates would include a new, all-weather track, a new football field which would be more handicap accessible and have new restroom areas.
Even Gravell, in attendance with son Joey a Truckee fifth-grader, said she still had concerns about U. She said she would have liked to have seen more professional input during the planning process, saying she didn’t know enough about who put the physical designs for U together.
“I would have liked to see someone with more experience in on the planning process,” Gravell said.
Joey, on the other hand, said he was excited for the project.
“I like the new facilities they’ll put in,” Joey Gravell said.