Inside the 77,825-square-foot Brandon School lies the original 1957 building with its many issues, including space, ADA compliance, lack of security and ventilation systems that are out-of-date and not up to code. Some of these issues are also present in the additions that came in 1970, 1980 and 2004.
Residents, school board members and staff had an opportunity to tour the facility as part of a work session Monday night before the regular school board meeting.
Superintendent Don Peschel led the tour along with consultants from ICS Consulting, the firm hired by the school district to help with its building issues.
Newly-elected school board member Diane Richter said it's important for more people to come and tour the schools and see for themselves what the issues are so they can make an informed decision when the school district brings a referendum forward.
Jana Anderson, another newly-elected school board member agreed. "People need to come and look," she said.
Monday's tour of the Brandon facility wasn't Anderson's first, as she has been very active in the school district for several years. She said there are some great things about the schools and some things that need to be improved or changed.
There were no surprises for either Anderson or Richter during the tour, other than they both wished more people would have shown up.
During the tour, Peschel highlighted various issues within areas of the building.
For instance, because of the small size of the lunchroom, four lunch periods are required to accommodate all students. The first lunch period starts at 10:42 a.m. and the last group doesn't get done until 12:43 p.m., high school Principal Nate Meissner said.
The art room also houses Family and Consumer Science and health classes.
"It's not an ideal space," said Peschel, adding that up to 35 students are in the class at a time.
In the boys locker room, as well as many other areas in the school, the HVAC system would not meet code to today's standards, and neither the boys or girls locker rooms are ADA compliant. In addition, Peschel said modern schools are moving away from group showers to more single-stall showers. The locker room space is small, he said, and can get awfully "crunched" when the football team is changing.
While touring the industrial tech portion of the building and some of the classrooms, Peschel noted one positive, saying the district has done a pretty good job at keeping up with technology as best as it can.
For example, in the industrial tech area, students get to use a 3D printer and many classes are equipped with smartboards, which are like electronic chalkboards.
Jason Splett from ICS Consulting, who helped lead the tour, commented on a few items during the tour, including:
• The building does not have any type of fire suppression or fire sprinklers in any portion.
• The heating plant consists of two hot water boilers, one fuel oil and one electric, and both are in need of replacement.
• Asbestos floor tiles can be found on the main level of the building.
• Many classrooms have pneumatic temperature controls that don't work like they should and are obsolete and inefficient.
• There is not much for air conditioning throughout the entire building.
• The music room needs acoustic tiling.
Survey results to be presented
The next work session has been moved to Wednesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. at the Evansville Senior Center, when ICS consultants will present survey results.
As part of its continued efforts to collect information and public input, Peschel said the district is asking residents to fill out the survey with questions related to the condition of the schools, grade configuration, tax impact and more.
The survey is still available and will be open through Sunday, March 24, and can be found online at www.bechargersunited.com.
Hard copies will be available at the school upon request. Residents who do not have internet access can contact Peschel at (320) 834-4084 for assistance in completing the survey.