Public meeting on Tahoe City school issues | SierraSun.com
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Public meeting on Tahoe City school issues

John Britto, Guest Columnist

Since the passage of the Measure R & C school bonds in 1999, the district has been busy with the design of a number of projects. One of these projects, the modernization of North Tahoe Middle/High School, has, as its top priority, the upgrade and replacement of the heating and ventilation system.District staff has researched a number of solutions to this difficult problem and has come to what is believed to be the system that will work best to solve the problems.Over the last several months, staff, engineers, and architects have been working to define the full scope of work for this project. Because of the magnitude of the project, it has become clear that it will not be possible to accomplish this work during a single summer. The work that needs to be done would have to be treated as separate projects over several summers in order to complete it in this manner. Scheduling the work in this way could use up a great deal more of the bond money than a project of this type should, and the school would have to deal with the disruption of construction projects over a much longer period of time.The facilities staff has discussed this issue with the Citizens Oversight Committee and Ed Spec Committees and have recommended that the most efficient use of the bond money and the solution that would disrupt school for the shortest period of time would be to do the work as a single project that carries through at least one school year and possibly, into a second year. Housing the students in proper teaching spaces while the project is underway is the obvious challenge to this plan. It is estimated that the student body from one of the schools (high school or middle school), or about 500 students, will need to be housed in an alternate location while work takes place in their portion of the building.We are currently exploring how to make this happen in a way that would least disrupt students’ lives and school programs while, at the same time, making efficient use of bond dollars. More than a dozen options on how to go about this have been suggested and discussed.Some of these options, such as using space in Truckee schools, are already felt to be extreme and undesirable. It was decided to distribute this letter in Truckee to dispel any rumors regarding these discussions. Some of the ideas developed are being explored in more detail as possible options.However, prior to any decision being made on the best way to go about dealing with this challenge, it is necessary to hear from parents and school staffs on what options are most desirable to them. Quite possibly there are more ideas out there, which would prove to be better solutions to the problem.The project will start in the summer of 2002 and there is a great deal of advance work to be done to be ready with any plan we choose. For this reason, the District must decide on a direction by July, in order to be ready in time to begin this project by next summer.To accomplish this timeline, we will be holding a public meeting (open house) on Wednesday, May 30, from 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the North Tahoe High School / Middle School Library.This will be a “drop-in workshop” with staff on hand to explain the various options being considered currently and to take input on those options. At 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. there will be a brief overview presentation on the various options. If you cannot be present for these presentations, the information will be available from staff and from the individual stations that address each scenario. Staff will also take input on possible new options to deal with this issue. Since some board members are expected to attend at undetermined times, this meeting is being noticed as a board workshop. Anyone who has interest in this issue is invited to attend.If you have questions, concerns, or input to offer but will be unable to attend the meeting, please contact me at 582-7100, ext. 135, at your convenience. With your help and cooperation we can accomplish this important project in the most effective manner.


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