W-MU readies for final push to sell community on building updates
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD – One thing was clear following the second community engagement meeting at Winfield-Mt. Union, option three was a bust.
Representatives from BLDD Architects didn’t need to chart out the community’s reaction to the third option, which failed to address the practice gym. The sentiment was palpable.
The firm was hired by the school district to facilitate the three community engagement meetings where the Facility Committee would, essentially, attempt to sell the community on a multi-million dollar building project, while gauging the community’s willingness to approve a bond referendum.
With that, the firm began focusing on options one and two. Damien Schlitt, of BLDD, said with scrapping option three altogether, he’s began focusing on developing two versions of each option to fit the levels of financing the district will be asking for.
The bond referendum could feature two questions; both would need 60 percent voter approval to pass. The first question, if approved, would allow the district to levy up to $2.70 per $1,000 taxable valuation. This, along with SAVE funds, would give the district approximately $7.5 million to work with. The second question on the ballot would ask voters to allow the district to impose a tax levy not to exceed $4.05.
Schlitt said version A of option one and two would cost roughly $7.1 million. Version B of each option would run about $9.5 million.
Schlitt added that each scenario, whether it was Option 1-A or Option 2-B, included a new HVAC system and moving the pre-K and kindergarten classrooms out of the portables and into the first floor of the building.
“Today I can’t guarantee you we’ll get two questions (passed). And if I can’t guarantee you both questions, we have to be in a position where if one question goes we’re still happy with the outcome,” said Schlitt, “and this sets us up for that.”
Schlitt said what was important about version A for each option was that it prepared the district for the “big picture.” The design would allow for remodeling and building improvement projects in the future that would get the district closer to its overall goal.
Besides going over designs for the two options, Schlitt gave the committee a rundown of how the next community meeting would go. Following a brief introduction and presentation of the options, community members would work once again in small groups. In the groups they would identify each plan’s strengths and weaknesses. After that, the community members would individually rate each plan and version on their own personal preference and what they believed could be passed via vote.
“That’s the key for this third meeting,” said Schlitt. “This whole process has been about two things; one is identifying a plan that works the best. It identifies and solves the most issues that the district currently has. But also, and just as important, is finding that plan that people will support.”
The final community engagement meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 6 p.m., in the practice gym.