Archive for Thursday, February 1, 2001

New high school may be best answer

Editorial

February 1, 2001

The final report on Eudora's schools is in and the news is not good.

To no one's surprise, it's going to cost several million dollars to bring the district's overcrowded and, in some instances, outdated buildings up to par.

A new high school, with a capacity of 600 students, would cost the district more than $20 million. That's a tough pill to swallow.

School board members have acknowledged the need for a new high school, but are reluctant to put the proposal before Eudora voters.

We agree, it may be a tough sale, particularly when you consider voters five years ago passed a bond to build the current high school, with the understanding it could be expanded to handle future growth.

With an approximate capacity of 350 students, the high school is now nearing its limit. A re-evaluation of the situation has raised questions about the feasibility of fixing the problem by adding more classrooms. Simply adding more classrooms would not widen the hallways, enlarge the cafeteria or commons area or add more bathroom facilities.

EHS Principal Marty Kobza may be in the best position to say what is needed. He is at the school every day and is the one currently dealing with the issues of overcrowding. The principal stands by his contention that the district needs a new, larger high school. He said last week he hoped the $20 million-price tag would not scare board members away from the idea of a new high school.

He has a right to be concerned.

Board member Carlie Abel said he would support the idea of adding on to the high school because that was the selling point of the bond five years ago. Board president Marion Johnson agreed a new high school would probably not make it past the voters.

We too hope the board will give serious consideration to building a new high school. We admire its commitment to voters and applaud its efforts to save taxpayers' money. However, if the projection five years ago was wrong, it's time to say so and move on. Let's learn from mistakes made in the past, find out what went wrong and not let it happen again.

Barring a drastic slow down in area growth, Eudora will need a second high school within the next few years. One thing we can be sure of is that the price of construction will only get higher. The board now has a chance to solve the current problem of overcrowding and prepare for the future at 2001 prices.

Ultimately, it will be the board's decision to make. We hope it makes a decision that will best serve Eudora for years to come. If the board was short-sighted five years ago, it's time to admit it and not repeat its mistake.

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