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GSL Board eyes May building referendum

In a two-hour workshop session Monday night, the Glencoe-Silver Lake School Board agreed “something needs to be done” about the recurring maintenance issues at Helen Baker Elementary School and the space issues at the high school, and decided to pose the questions for the public next May in another building referendum election.
At its regular board meeting two weeks ago, the Board heard there have been heating issues at Helen Baker, and discussed how much more time and money should be spent on the facility.
Superintendent Chris Sonju asked the Board Monday, “What is it that you would like Michelle (Sander, business manager) and I to move forward with? At this point, what is our driving force?”
Sonju said besides the heating problems at Helen Baker, other issues in the district need to be addressed, such as the lack of secure entrances at Lincoln Junior High School and the high school, the lack of classrooms to accommodate efficient learning, the lack of activity space, lack of locker rooms and lack of “21st-century space.”
“These are huge concerns. Still huge concerns at the high school … What do we do with Helen Baker then? Invest in it? Or sell it? What do we do with the third graders? Do we keep them at Lakeside, or bring them to the Glencoe campus? What’s next? What are your thoughts as a board?” Sonju said.
“First of all, I do believe we need to act on Helen Baker. Whether it’s a new building or whatever. We need to go to the community and we need to say, ‘This is what is happening with heating and this is what it’s going to cost to upgrade and replace a heating system. We have to be right up front with the costs,” Board Member Kevin Kuester said.
He said the public needs to know what everything will cost. “If people don’t hear what those costs are gonna be, I don’t think they’ll support a new building,” he added.
Kuester explained that the boilers are “good” at Helen Baker, but that the delivery system is deteriorating. “The piping hasn’t been upgraded since it was put in.”
Board Member Jason Lindeman said currently, there’s piping on the outside walls at Helen Baker to “band-aid” the heating problems. “It’s not very sightly,” he said.
Business Manager Michelle Sander asked Kuester what else could be done to “get the word out.” She explained that countless newspaper articles have been written and public forums have been held to do just that. “What else can we do?”

For more, see the Nov. 26 print edition of The Chronicle.