Building Committee Tours WES

A major safety concern for Woodland Elementary School is the playground. The playground equipment is secured by cement pilings. After years of freezing and thawing on shifting ground, the pilings have started to rise up from the ground, making them a safety concern for the school. Principal Belanger is working on obtaining grants that would help replace and repair the playground with something safer. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Kaileigh Deacon

 

On Monday, July 31st, the Baileyville School Building Committee met at Woodland Elementary School. The committee met to discuss what repairs were needed at the Elementary School as well as to tour the building to see for themselves. 

The original building was constructed in 1965 and minor updates have been made to the building since initial construction to create more classroom and office space. 

The meeting started with a tour around the building led by Woodland Elementary School Principal Amanda Belanger. The tour highlighted some of the more prominent issues at the elementary school so the committee could see the issues to determine what the priorities might be. 

Some of the issues Principal Belanger pointed out was that there are a number of toilets that are not completely secure to the floor. The concern is that the boards underneath are rotted and so the toilets won’t fasten. Also, the lighting throughout the building is very poor, resulting in inconsistent and low light that makes it hard for the students to focus. Another major issue Belanger pointed out was the evident cracking and shifting of the building that causes the drafts to blow into the school, making the classrooms cold. There is also significant water buildup in various points around the school. Several of the classroom doors to the outside of the building cause water to enter the school sometimes to the point of having to push the water out of the room. The boiler room is also prone to water buildup, sometimes as much as four inches of water. 

Other issues that need to be addressed are the heating system, the lack of privacy in the special education office, the exposed pipes and lights that line the ceilings of the hallways, and the playground equipment where the cement pilings are starting to come up from the ground. Principal Belanger is working to try and obtain grant money to help with the issues on the playground but as of yet nothing has been secured. These are only some of the issues that were pointed out at Monday’s meeting. More were shared with the committee and those in attendance. 

The committee ended the tour having gone both inside and out to go back and discuss everything they saw and work toward what the next steps should be. Superintendent William Braun presented the committee with two previous reports on the repairs needed at the high school and the elementary school. These reports highlight the repairs necessary at this time, and many are the same issues both schools are having now. 

Superintendent Braun also told the committee that the school was under consideration in a state Building Project grant program. The school would be competing against at least 100 other projects. The school will be toured sometime this September for the grant committee. While Braun mentioned the grant he also said that even if the school was to get awarded anything, there would be little done before 2023. He also advised the committee that Baileyville would face the challenge of having a small student population on the scoring. The program will only select 6-10 projects across the state.

John Gallant: “We need to get this thing going and keep it going.” 

Going forward, it was decided that more publicity should be done to help explain the ongoing issues both schools are having. One way the committee hopes to tackle this is to have the students from both schools work together on a video project to see what the school is like through their eyes and where they think the issues are. 

Doctor McHugh: “To send kids into schools like the two we have, you’re essentially telling them that you’re not worth our money.”

Before the next meeting, the committee members will look at what they have seen from both schools and work on a list that prioritizes the repairs that need to be made to both schools to bring back and present and discuss at the next meeting. 

The next meeting of the Baileyville School Building Committee will be on Monday August 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Woodland High School Library. All members of the community are welcome to join.

 

The ceiling of the Woodland Elementary school is a mixture of exposed pipes and lights, above which are the ceiling tiles. The already low ceiling is made even lower by the hanging pipes and light fixtures. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)


One of the big concerns for the Woodland Elementary School is the separation that is happening all around the building. Pictured is the junction of the wall and floor of the second grade class room. The gaps are so open that in the winter the cold draft from outside can be felt and according to Principal Amanda Belanger the students and teachers often have to bundle up. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)