Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Board takes options off table

by Steve Targo

February 23, 2012

LINN — If anything, the recent survey which 175 people returned to the Reek School Board helped officials clear the playing field.

“Right now, we feel a new building is off the table, either the dome school (concept) or a conventional one,” Reek Administrator Joe Zirngibl said during a Feb. 16 interview. “Neither one of these had overwhelming support in the survey.”

This was the survey officials sent to 484 people last month.

Of the 175 who returned them, 154 were Reek district residents. The survey asked people to basically select a top three out of six options.

The idea which most survey respondents supported was the one which failed to receive enough support during two referendum elections last year.

The Reek School Board proposed a $3.9 million renovation project to fix the deteriorating bricks, windows and roof on the 1993 addition and to make other improvements.

It failed by 20 votes in April 2011, then by four in October 2011. In an effort to gain some input from the public, Reek officials created the survey.

Although the renovation project received the most support in survey, two other options rounded out the top three. In second place was the option to create a “bare minimum” project to fix the structural problems at Reek, currently estimated at about $2 million. In third, a more radical idea — tear down all but the gymnasium at Reek, then building a new structure around it, estimated to cost $6 million.

As for that idea, Zirngibl said “that didn’t receive very substantial support.” in the survey.

But the bottom three options — do nothing, build a new conventional school or build a dome school — received the least support among survey respondents.

Zirngibl said now, the main point of discussion among School Board members is whether they try a third time with the $3.9 million project or scale back the renovation project.

Currently, the board is contacting two architects to determine whether the $3.9 million project can be done for less cost.

“We want to address the issues we have here that need to be taken care of, but we want to listen to the voters, who want us to spend a little less to fix up the building,” Zirngibl said.

He said the issue likely will be discussed at the next Reek School Board meeting.