October 20, 2021
Greetings Lakewood Families,
It is hard to believe we’ve made it through the first 9 weeks already. It has been wonderful having our students back, in person, with our high-quality teachers the entire time. Thank you all for what you’re doing to make that possible.
At last week’s Board of Education meeting, I made a recommendation to decommission the Hebron building over the next couple of years. I am in the process of scheduling community forums where I can share our thinking and answer your questions and I’d like to share an overview here.
As you all know, we have been trying to pass the bond issue for a new elementary school over the last few years. The bond issue has been on the ballot five times, and the cost has gone down over time due to reducing the scope early on and lower interest rates in the last couple of attempts. Even with the reduction in cost, there has been no movement in community support, with only 45% of voters voting in favor of the bond issue last May.
Realizing that there is still significant work to do to gain support for a new elementary school and given the ongoing challenges in our 108-year-old building, it seems the best way forward is to remove students and staff from Hebron Elementary. The multi-story structure presents challenges for students and staff with disabilities, has small classrooms that don’t meet the needs of today’s teaching methods, and no air conditioning. The aging building often experiences flooding, needs a new roof, and the retrofit pump station can’t always keep up with the building’s septic system. It is expensive to maintain, which isn’t a good use of taxpayer dollars.
The proposed plan would be to move Hebron students and staff to the Jackson Intermediate building. This would require modular classrooms and shifting grade levels between Jackson A and B to best accommodate the needs of all students. By making this move, all Lakewood students would be housed on our Lancer Road campus in buildings that meet ADA standards, have effective heating and cooling, and have improved instructional space.
Making this move does not take away the need for a new PreK – 5th grade building. While conditions would be improved with this move, we still have significant need for a learning environment that meets the needs of today’s teaching and learning approaches and standards. The Jackson building is aging and has challenges of its own that still need to be addressed.
Please reach out to me at [email protected]
or call our district office at 740-928-5878 with any questions.
Thank you all for your continued efforts to keep students and staff healthy and safe so we can remain in person this year.
It's Lancer Time!
Dr. Mark Gleichauf