Thursday, April 10, 2008

Renovation / Short-sightedness

T talks about this (shortsightedness) a lot, but in the opposite way. In what we do with SPACE and students, he is envisioning 10, 20 and 500 years from now, what impact will what they do have on the world. Casting that vision to students is not an easy task, because their lives are more in the here and now mostly due to inexperience. Creating meaningful experiences for them to think beyond themselves and their time allows them to develop a different world view than most typical teenagers.

Last night, I went to a meeting where the girls' elementary school renovation plan was presented. I must say, I was really disappointed. I'm grateful the county is finally putting 10 million dollars into our school, mostly to bring the 25 year old building up to code and making sure it meets all the safety standards necessary for the time we live in. However, there are desperate needs in our school that are not being addressed, and I just can't believe the county would bother putting 10 million dollars into a building and refuse to see what's right in front of us.

For one, our school has fully utilized three portable classrooms (all that we can fit on our tiny property) for at least the entire time our kids have been there. They have been used as overflow classroom space, GT classrooms and the music room. There are no bathrooms in a portable, so the kids now have to walk through a second grade classroom to get to a bathroom - outside in an insecure, uncovered area. For me, that is a point of great concern. Not addressed at all - not even with a fence.

Secondly, this 25 year old building is going to be completely retrofitted with all the newest in technology. The doors will be secured with ID card entrances, a new PA system will be installed, direct access to the county central maintenance system installed and video surveillance added. They are also basically gutting the inside of the building and redoing everything - heating, AC, walls, plumbing, all the cosmetics... but they left out new kitchen appliances. And I wonder: how could that have been left off the agenda??? We're replacing toilets, doors, windows, floors, computers, ducts, electrical wiring. We're leaving 25 year old refrigerators, ovens - that are constantly being fixed, sinks/plumbing in this "new" building. Makes no sense.

Finally, nothing is increasing in size. They, of course, offered "all their projections" and how no new space will be needed.... Well, guess what? We are using a portable for a second grade classroom, just last year our "projected" three kindergarten classes easily turned into 4 oversized kindergarten classes and they are still building more new homes in our district. I think they might reconsider their projections!

All in all, a very shortsighted plan. But it really an example of all the planning in our county where schools are concerned. New housing is surging through the roof, new school buildings... slowly plodding along. It's a terrible example to the generation it's serving, and it only perpetuates the mindset in kids that we can only do so much. What a pathetic excuse for.... I won't say it. But really, that's not at all what we want to infuse in our SPACE kids.

I'm really excited for this year and for a vision for these kids that what they will participate in this year, whether it be New Orleans, Cameroon, Hungary, England or Baltimore, that their contribution will have a lasting impact on generations to come. It's more than giving up a week or two of their summer and traveling with friends somewhere. It's impacting lives for Christ so that He will be known in the world. We're out to renovate the world!

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