John Huismann

John Huismann

I just read an article that was printed a few days ago touting a Sunset Recreation Center. It was complete with children holding up a sign. Broadway Middle School is an old, broken-down 73,000-square-foot building that needs millions of dollars in remediation, repairs and improvements before it would even begin to be usable for the things being talked about. The district’s board of directors is trying to sell you a lie.

They tout a number of potential activities such as pre- and after-school activities. I have to ask, who is going to provide the transportation for the children? Wouldn’t it make much more sense and be safer to have those activities at their schools?

They claim that it will provide indoor recreational space for citizens. I believe that the taxpayers just spent many millions to build new schools in a safe zone. There is a lot of recreational space in our new schools.

They also tout sports tourism and childcare. Is it now the policy of the district to compete against private companies? What’s going on here?

The truth is that you have not been told is how much it costs.

Skyler Archibald, the district’s executive director, told you in 2018 that it would be much more expensive to buy the middle school than to approve the $20 million plus they sought to remodel the Sunset Pool building. You did reject that plan at the ballot box.

In purchasing the middle school, the district board claims to have done due diligence, in other words investigating the facility prior to the purchase. What they did not do was to get bids on actually making the building usable again. This is also part of due diligence.

In this failure, they have violated their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers. Fiduciary responsibility means that they are required to act in the conservative best interests of the taxpayers. I wonder if this breach is covered by their director’s insurance?

So, what needs to be done to make this 73,000-square-foot building usable? First, you need a new roof and replacement of leaking windows. This alone will cost at least $5 million, if not more. Then there are the issues of asbestos, mold and lead paint remediation. This will add another $5 million to the cost.

We have not even begun to address the structural needs of a building this old. Some of the walls are crumbling as they were not properly built to begin with. The heating and ventilation systems need to be totally replaced. What will it cost to bring this building up to current codes as will be required? The answer is many millions of dollars.

With what you are paying for the new schools, does this make sense to you? Are you taxpayers willing to pay that much more because a few folks seem nostalgic for Broadway Middle School? I’m retired and on a fixed income. I know that I can’t afford it. Can you?

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