BURLEY — Thirty members of a school patron’s committee presented their list of recommendations for the district’s buildings to the Cassia County School District board.
Chairman of the committee is John Evans Jr., president and CEO of DL Evans Bank.
“Our area has always benefited from investments in education and training the future workforce. With the growth that has come and is coming to the Mini-Cassia area, we have got to make sure that we are prepared to take care of our needs. We want to attract business to our area and continue to make our town a place that families are proud of and want to return home to,” Evans said in a statement issued by the district.
Evans will continue to head the committee during the process.
The recommendations include additional classrooms at some schools, landscaping, playgrounds, security upgrades and a new facility or renovation at Dworshak Elementary School. The recommendations also include completion of the Declo Elementary School and demolition of the existing school along with a gym upgrade at Declo Junior High School and agriculture shop at Declo High School. Other upgrades and maintenance projects for district schools are included in the list.
The committee’s work comes on the heels of nearly completed construction projects paid for with a 2015 construction bond. The district ran short of money during the bond process after an architect misjudged the costs of the projects. The $15 million shortage caused the district to scale back projects.
The district’s growing enrollment along with deferred maintenance and needs that were unmet during the recent bond construction prompted investigation. The committee met for four months, touring schools and talking with district patrons and employees.
The recommendations will help the board with long-term planning and budgeting.
When the board considers the recommendations and starts a needs assessment the district will utilize industry professionals to establish accurate cost estimates in a process outlined by district policy that was approved in October 2017. The policy outlines a system of checks and balances with independent verification of construction estimates along with project completion estimates.