The Decorah Community School District will seek the community’s engagement as it examines and addresses the facility needs at John Cline Elementary School and West Side Early Childhood Center.
Among the most pressing and expensive challenges at the schools are infrastructure and maintenance issues. Specifically, sanitary sewer systems must be replaced up to the city’s main. The current systems create plumbing problems that include toilet leaks and sewer backups. In addition, heating systems, which are more than 30 years old, have limited climate control capabilities and are approaching the end of their life expectancy.
Leaking roofs need to be replaced and some floors show signs of settling. Asbestos can be found onsite. Additionally, playground drainage issues cause damp, decaying leaves to collect annually in the fall, creating a foul smell.
“Both John Cline and West Side have served the Decorah community well in the past,” said Dr. Tim Cronin, superintendent. “However, as is the case at many schools throughout the state, these facilities have aged to the point that providing students with a modern learning environment has become a daily challenge for the district at both sites. In the months ahead, we will be engaging our community into these needs as we work to find potential solutions.”
The two schools have architectural challenges that create limitations for students, teachers, and staff. Many classrooms have limited setup options due to size, shape, and outlet locations. There is inadequate closet space for students to store their winter gear, and there exists an insufficient number of sinks in classrooms and stalls in restrooms. Additionally, the sharing of the gymnasium as a lunch room impacts scheduling and staff throughout the district. Moreover, previous construction to an existing building’s core structure created multiple rooms which lack windows as well as areas with poor ventilation.
Both schools lack needed space–ranging from community rooms capable of hosting meetings and conferences to shared gymnasium and lunchroom space that will not interfere with indoor activities and recess. Limited storage space in classrooms and common areas also creates challenges, and insufficient space exists for students as they engage in many activities at the playgrounds.
District administrators and officials continue to monitor the challenges presented at John Cline and West Side and work towards potential solutions.