Letters to the Editor

Good time to pass school bond issue | Letters | March 27

I am a structural engineer who has worked on many public school construction projects.

I would like to take the opportunity to emphasize that the timing is right – for the students, the citizens, and the district – to pass a bond to establish funds to rebuild Wilkes Elementary School.

As a parent with children that attend Blakely Elementary, and as a team member that evaluated all the district facilities, it is clear that Wilkes has much more significant problems.

Both schools are aging and “tired.” However the systems at Wilkes – from the structure, to the mechanical/electrical systems, to the septic and drainage systems – are wearing out or have significantly passed their anticipated life expectancy.

The downward turn in the economy has had one significant benefit – decreasing construction prices dramatically.

A year ago it was difficult to get more than one or two contractors to bid on a school project, and accordingly the prices for those projects were high.

Now we are seeing 10 or more contractors bidding on schools with bids coming in 20 percent or more below estimates.

For a short time (prices will go back up) we have the opportunity to replace an aging facility at a cost that will save the citizens money.

I’m not an expert on the best way to teach children. However, it’s easy to see that new school designs provide a better learning environment for our kids, and they are safer and healthier.

The people within the walls of the school make it successful. But an environment that promotes learning and community involvement makes their jobs much easier and gives our children better opportunities to excel.

Craig Stauffer

Bainbridge Island

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