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Committee will look at schools

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Education > Board wants to have an eye on infrastructure

By Tris DeRoma

The Los Alamos School Board has voted to restock its Master Planning Facilities committee and the public is invited to join.
Several years ago, using the truism “In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been,” the Los Alamos School Board invented a committee to keep an eye on the state of its infrastructure.
Formed about eight years ago, the Twenty Year Facilities Committee’s main purpose was to report on the physical state of the school district’s facilities and to establish whether or not they were still serving their intended purpose.
Since 2006, the committee’s reports proved to be invaluable tools in convincing the public why it needed to OK construction bonds for Los Alamos Middle School and Aspen Elementary School.
In recent years, though, the committee has been inactive and some members have moved on to other projects and committees.
With that in mind, the school district’s chief operations officer, Joanie Ahlers, asked the school Board to consider restarting the committee.
“As you know, we’re far enough into the bond cycle that we have utilized all of the specific projects that the first Twenty Year Facilities Committee has pointed out. We now need our next set of set of specific projects,” she said to the board. “We need the committee to come back together and have it tour the facilities again.”
The new committee’s goal will probably be to concentrate on what remains to be done with the remaining four elementary schools, if anything.
Voters approved, through a bond referendum, the reconstruction of Aspen Elementary School in 2013.
The board members agreed with the idea.
“I think we should start on this right away… we should have a committee by the end of this month,” said Board Secretary Matt Williams.
According to Superintendent of Schools Gene Schmidt, the school board will suggest members for the committee at the board’s next work session and then “fill in the gaps” through notices placed in the local media.
Schmidt also stressed how important the committee is to the schools as well as the community.
“Its purpose is to review our structural capacities and potential infrastructure needs,” said Schmidt. “From the basis of the committee’s work we’ll have an idea of what kinds of improvements we could make through the 2017 bond referendum. It really does lay out a strategic path for all of our school’s facilities.”