At the inception and planning phase of the new Northern Lebanon Elementary School, the following questions and answers were provided to the Northern Lebanon community:
- Q - Is this building really needed? A - The currently elementary buildings would require upgrades for safety, energy, and educational reasons. Unfortunately, spending money on the current elementary schools does not provide any operational savings other than minimal energy savings. Running small schools is an inefficient use of taxpayer money. This new elementary school will provide substantial operational savings.
- Q - The district will be going from 4 gyms to 1 gym in the elementary setting. How does the district plan to accommodate youth Rec activities such as the winter basketball program with one gym? A - The design of the new elementary allows for a competition size court which we don't currently have in any of our elementary schools. The court can be divided in two and both courts will also be larger than anything we currently have. In addition, these courts allow more of our HS/MS teams to practice in the afternoon freeing up additional space at the MS or HS gym in the evenings.
- Q - When did NLSD obtain the land adjacent to the HS/MS? A - NLSD purchased the land in 1996.
- Q - Are you planning on utilizing a building automation system to control and manage the efficiency of the HVAC equipment? A - While we haven't yet chosen the exact equipment at this point, we believe our current buildings are not energy efficient and this is an area that will be greatly improved and we will see energy savings because of it.
- Q - How much is this going to cost taxpayers and where is the money coming from? A - The total cost is around 46 million. That amount results in a bond payment of about 3 million per year. Crabtree-Rohrbaugh's study suggests a savings of about 1.5 million for the District and this could be even more based on enrollment projections. We currently have a bond that we pay 1.3 million a year on which will soon be paid off. The operational savings and the payoff of the current bond allows us to build the building with very little budgetary impact.
- Q - Will there will be more fields for soccer as the soccer club always has a hard time finding fields due to the lack of athletic facilities in our area. The athletic facilities are overdue for an upgrade. A - Yes, we intend to add soccer and baseball fields in addition to a potential turf field upgrade at the HS/MS which would result in more availability for our youth organizations.
- Q - Why not build a new High School and Middle School. Those also need upgraded. A - The Board is looking at that also. The operational savings that an elementary school brings allows the District to improve the HS/MS in more financially sound manner.
- Q - Why is a building program being moved forward at this time when future building needs may be very different than what they have been historically? For example, many businesses are reevaluating their building needs due to the success of teleworking. Do we know enough about what the future of education will look like to be able to effectively make decisions/plan a new facility? A - While no one knows what the future of education will be for certain, our existing facilities don't even meet current educational best practices. The plans allow for a great deal of flexibility that we believe will meet current best practices and allow for adjustments in the future as well.
- Q - The projections show a decrease in enrollment at the elementary schools. Why weren't planned development projects taken into consideration? For example, the Bell & Evans facility under construction is estimated to add many new jobs (1000+). Isn't it realistic to expect some of those employees and their families to move into the school district, especially given that additional housing is being planned in Fredericksburg? A - During the feasibility study these factors were taken into consideration. Townships were contacted about any planned projects. Historical trends were looked at that give some insight on how these projects impact enrollment. The new building allows flexibility for expansion if Northern Lebanon grows and enrollment would increase.
- Q - What public involvement is being planned to better educate residents regarding the building plans/options? The public meetings held to date have not allowed for Q&A. Will postcards or mailers be sent out to make a genuine effort to solicit input from all residents? Based on the virtual surveys conducted during the public meetings to date, participation has been very low (less than 20 people), which would indicate the need for increased public involvement efforts. A - We have encouraged the community to utilize the public comment opportunity at Board meetings to ask questions or give feedback. We have discussed the project at almost all Board meetings since March and will continue to have updates over the next few months. In addition, information has been in the Lebanon Daily News on two occasions, Facebook, Twitter, multiple emails, and the website contains past recordings of presentations and the PowerPoints.
- Q - Does NLSD have money already saved that will be used towards the building construction? A - There is not enough money saved for the project, but the operational savings pays for large portion of the school. See the above answer for more information.
Q - What about special education classrooms where are those? A - support rooms are spread throughout the building. Each grade level has a special education room in the same wing. They are the orange rooms in the design. A diagram of the design can be found here.
Q - Do you know what’s going to happen with the old buildings? A - We have met with a realtor to discuss this and there sounds like there may be some interest from businesses for at least 3 of the properties. At this time, however, it is purely speculation.