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May 26, 2019

3/18/2019 8:48:00 AM
Consider the dollars and sense

Dear Editor:
Amidst all the controversy about a second referendum proposing the building of a new elementary school on the middle school/high school campus in Mineral Point, an important question from taxpayers has received little response from the Board of Education. No action has been taken, and, apparently, little thought given to the sale of the existing elementary school, should the April 2 referendum pass. At an open house at the elementary school last week, the question of the worth of the old school was asked by a citizen in the audience. She was asking about the value of an abandoned school on the real estate market, to which no answer was forthcoming.
Another way of looking at the worth of the old building is that its worth is $7.5 million if the referendum on April 2 fails. That is the difference between the cost of a rebuild-remodel of the old school and the cost of building a new school of approximately the same square footage. Should the April 2 referendum pass, the value of the old building and property would likely not exceed 5% of that $7.5 million. Because of the cost to a potential developer to repurpose the building, the board may have to almost give it away just to be rid of it. We suggest a no vote on the referendum April 2.
Another idea to consider regarding the school building issue is not a matter of dollars, but rather of sense. In a small town the school is the heart of the community, a place not only of classes and activities but a constant visual reminder to everyone of the central role of the school as an institutional ideal. Placing the elementary school on the high school campus removes this focus of community life to a suburban location that is deserted when not used during school days and for after school activities. In a physical sense, it removes the vitality of the beating heart from the body it supports. Children retain much more from their elementary school days than just what they learn in class or the fun they have at recess. One of those is a feeling of attachment to a community, an outlook that is in rapid decline throughout the country. Let us not lose this in Mineral Point. Keep the heart in the body. For reasons of both dollars and sense, vote no on April 2.
Peter and Nancy Schmalz
Mineral Point

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