By now, somebody reading this article has said to themselves that no one has given any answers to the problem of where the Bureau Valley South students should go to school. You’re right; no one has. So here it comes.
School code law says that when you add onto a school building, you cannot go over 40 percent of the current building’s square footage. If you go over 40 percent, then you need to remodel the entire building to meet current codes.
Let’s start with saying that the one-story part of the Buda building meets all current life safety requirements. With this scenario, we can add onto the current Buda building. BV could build classrooms onto the west side of the current structure. A corridor would enter the existing building at the main hallway and then “T” into the new structure, with lower-grade classes on the left and upper-grade classes on the right.
This WAS able to be done with one building project if that decision would have been done before the towers were destroyed. The square footage of the towers would have been used to stay below the 40 percent limit. The towers would have then been removed after the new construction was completed.
Since this building scenario was not considered prior to the demolition of the towers, we will now have to do this project in multiple phases. For the first stage, BV could add new construction equaling 40 percent of the current square footage. The second phase would start immediately after construction and would continue until the building is at acceptable size.
Total cost would be around $6.5 million; this is a cheaper solution per student due to the fact that the high-dollar part of the school is already there (gym, cafeteria, library, art room, music room, etc.). This will also be below the 85 percent capacity rate that is an industry standard to accommodate a comfortable learning environment for our students.
This plan is essentially the same idea as what is being proposed (adding an addition onto a current building), but it is doing it for approximately half the cost of the current referendum. Of course, there would need to be some updates to the single-story section in Buda; however, there is always going to be building updates that should be scheduled into a budget. Not destroy and rebuild in one place. Think about it!
Another thought to consider is that it is always good to diversify your investments. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Any catastrophe could occur at one of these locations. It could be severe weather hitting one school and doing unthinkable damage. Or a fire breaking out and causing severe damage.
We need to spread our resources out among the Bureau Valley community. When you leave buildings in multiple communities, then the BV communities share in the responsibilities of law enforcement, fire, ambulance, sewer and water.