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The time is right

As of Thursday evening, the cards are on the table with IPCISD trustees calling for a $13.7-million bond election May 12 for the first phase of retrofits and new construction to the school’s four campuses and high school athletic complex.

The stakes are about as high as they get. If it passes, the school system (and the city itself) will move forward with a solid plan of future growth while maintaining and enhancing our traditional high standard of education.

If it fails, it will be because of a hesitancy to make such a financial commitment in a time where the country itself is rebounding from a very deep recession, and possibly combined with a general consensus among conservatives these days for “no new taxes.”

The Leader staff – its employees closely resembling the basic demographic combination of conservatives and “a” progressive, unanimously agree this bond package should pass.

In the coming weeks, the Leader will present the school board’s plans for each campus with this first bond package, and try to define the overall 10-year plan that will eventually include a new high school.

It has been 42 years since both the current high school and football stadium were constructed. Prior to that, it was 45 years earlier (1925) when W.F. George High School was built.

Generations of Iowa Parkans have walked the hallways of W.F. George. Since 1970 it has been home to the junior high. Trustees looked at several possibilities when tasked with facilities upgrade project, including a complete remodel of W.F. George. It was found that a new middle school could be built at roughly the same cost.

So the current philosphy amongst board members and administration is to initiate projects in the opening phase that will primarily address retrofitting the high school building plus retrofits and new construction to the athletic complex, plus smaller but necessary retrofits and new construction projects at both elementary schools and the middle school.

School officials are hoping that, in the next few years, the state once again makes a commitment to help finance new construction, which will help make it possible for Iowa Park to build a new high school, and relocate the middle school to the existing high school.

The plan itself is a culmination of almost four years of research and discussion, from a facilities study group comprised of local citizens, to a great depth of discussion between trustees, administration, school staff, citizens in open forum, plus architects and financial planners.

It is a solid plan, and one the Leader promotes. We do encourage our readers to utilize this paper as a medium to argue the points, pro and con. We welcome you to write a Letter to the Editor at any time from here until the election, voicing your own thoughts.

Because, that is what a newspaper does. We may take a side, editorially, on this issue. But it is also our job ... our obligation ... to present both sides of this discussion as we move forward.