OPINION

High school on right track

Washington
Times-Reporter editorial board

Washington Community High School officials want the public to give input on the planned renovation of the high school.

However, Monday’s meeting is only the first. There are six more.

The community meetings are part of how BLDD Architects of Bloomington does business when dealing with large projects involving schools.

It is a good way to do business.

BLDD completed an assessment of the high school during the summer, and at a recent meeting presented its findings to the board of education.

The assessment team identified $4.4 million in needed renovations.

Of that $4.4 million, $453,036 is urgent, $2.6 million is necessary and the remaining $1.2 million is recommended work.

However, if at some point the school decides it is in Washington’s best interest to expand instead of remodel, the price tag could go as high as $20 million.

If the board opts to expand the school, it would have to go to a bond issue. Taxpayers would have the final say.

So, instead of keeping the process on the down low, board members opted to follow BLDD’s advice.

Monday’s meeting was an orientation meeting.

The next meeting is a brainstorming and a tour of the high school Oct. 1.

The Oct. 23 meeting will be a review of ideas. After that, community members will have a voice in identifying the strongest ideas and presenting those to the board.

Allowing community members, who through their property taxes help pay for any work done to the high school, to participate in the planning phase is an excellent idea.

If there is anything we learned from the Illinois Department of Transportation’s initial attempt at the Eastern Bypass (ring road) project, it is that it is unwise to keep the public in the dark.

No matter what the school decides, without public knowledge and input, residents will not be happy.

This way, if they are not happy with the results, at least they were given a chance to contribute.