We also encourage our readers to attend the Community Engagement meetings, although we are once again curious why it is required that people sign up to attend. This requirement will not only put off some people, but discourage last minute attendance by residents who don't know ahead of time if their busy schedules will permit them to attend.
Part 2 of the submitted comment expresses one Voter's opinion on next step. We are posting it here in order to get the discussion going, so as always, SOUND OFF!
COMMENT OF THE DAY:
Survey and Engagement Events on HMS Facilities Planning
Dear D181 Families, Staff, and Key Communicators,
Where do we go from here? That is the question we are posing to District 181 residents, staff, and local business employees through a new online survey and two upcoming events as we contemplate the next steps in addressing the facility needs of Hinsdale Middle School. We know where we have been. The referendum question asked in the March General Primary Election - seeking authorization to sell up to $65 million in bonds to build a new HMS - was defeated 56% to 44%. We want to better understand why the referendum was not successful, and we are eager to learn what changes should be considered so that any future plan is one our community can support. To that end, together with the Board of Education, I invite the District 181 community to share your input.
The survey is open now through May 18 and can be accessed at http://tinyurl.com/SurveyOnHMS or from the District website: www.d181.org >Our District > HMS Referendum. Meanwhile, our partner firm is completing calls to 500 residents to capture their feedback. We are also hosting a pair of engagement events later this month. These round-table sessions will be an opportunity to have a conversation about the long-term plan for HMS. Please join us May 24 at Prospect School (6:30pm) or May 26 at our Administration Center (9:30am). We are asking those interested in attending to please RSVP, either online at http://tinyurl.com/RoundTableHMS or by calling 630.861.4924.
Throughout the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to listen intently, welcome questions, and share information about this facilities work. Thank you for your continued partnership!
I think that it's unwise that the administration is still trying to push a new school, when pretty much the entire DOL will be new next school year. Get the new staff in and settled, and fix the hot mess that is the curriculum first before wasting more tax dollars on a new school. I believe we need to do something with the HMS building, but we have bigger fish to fry right now.
However, if we really must talk about next steps for HMS, here are my thoughts:
Before even looking to architects, decide how many classrooms we need, how big those classrooms should be, what extra places are needed (workrooms, datacenter, staff bathrooms, etc.), get a list of needs, prioritize wants, and set a firm budget. Some of the things posted on BoardDocs too often stated that the architects didn't know they needed to include in the design. Why the **** not?
Also, for somethings like an auditorium, can the district do a crowdfunding page? That way, if they get the money, they'd get it, and the taxpayers who don't want it don't have to pay for it. Also, make it big enough for the entire school, and able to hold all their non-athletic events (music concerts, musical, presentations, etc.). Plus, the district said that the village would pay for a multi-story parking garage. The district should see where else they can fund parts of the school besides bonds/property taxes. Also, regarding parking deck, maybe have it match the height of the school? The school design that went to referendum had 3 floors above grade, and one below. If the village is willing to pay for it, maybe have the parking structure be 3 floors above and 1 floor below grade? That would greatly increase the available parking for the stores around the current site. Plus, after the recoups its money from the parking structure, maybe the village could turn over control to the district and start paying a leasing fee?
Another thought I had is learn from the referendums that brought CHMS. Instead of one big school, maybe we should make 2 smaller schools. HMS currently has around 800 kids, CHMS has around 680, so about 1500 middle school students total. Why not have 3 middle schools of 500 each? That way, it'll be easier to know what's fair and parity.
I've talked to a bunch of people at both HMS & CHMS. Some of them say that when CHMS first opened, some parts like the gym and music rooms were already too small. If we build a new school, how do we go about that? On the one hand, if we make them proportionally sized to CHMS, that screws over the people who go to the new school. If we make the appropriately sized, that screws over CHMS students. So do we screw over everyone, or have as many people as good as possible, even if it's unequal?"