West Delaware’s Referendum for Renovations

West Delaware will hold a referendum for the funding of school renovations March 2.

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Gavin Drees

As part of the proposed school renovations, workers will remove asbestos in the school.

Rosa Parks sparking the Montgomery bus boycott, Alaska and Hawaii becoming the 49th and 50th states, and McDonald’s beginning their franchise all happened while construction workers built the oldest portion of the current high school building.

On March 2, the Delaware County Community School District will hold a referendum on funding to renovate many areas of the district. Renovations include remodels of both the science and Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) classrooms.

Around 60 years old, the upstairs science classrooms and labs are in need of an update, including functioning gas and water in the labs. 

“There are many of the newer STEM investigations that are put on the back burner because I don’t have the equipment,” science teacher Joan Salow said. “The remodeling would help teachers run investigations in the lab and have the students work on different things in the class so that the whole classroom can be used and be more of a learner-centered classroom.”

In addition to the proposed remodeling of the science classroom, the bond referendum brings with it new ventilation and air conditioning.

“The only ventilation we have in here is windows,” Salow said. “I open windows in January, so we end up having fans running and windows cracked in the winter times here, because the boiler heat is hard to control and the thermostat is broken.”

As the only FCS teacher at the high school, Christian Carper has experienced his fair share of smoky incidents that ultimately disrupts the whole school’s learning. 

“We’ve filled the room with smoke before,” Carper said. “If we open up the (hallway) door, we set off the alarm, evacuate the building and the fire department has to come, so the whole school gets stopped.”

A major handicap to his students’ learning is the lack of quality ventilation, as there aren’t any kitchen hoods and the heat can be unbearably hot all year round. However, with improved ventilation and a remodel to his classroom, Carper believes his students can learn more. 

“In a commercial kitchen, the cook surface is directly under a cook hood so any smoke or heat goes up in the hood and is automatically vented out, so there’s some cooking techniques we aren’t able to do here because of the smoke it makes,” Carper said. “In general, this room ranges between 85 and a little over 90. It’s difficult to focus when all you can think of is how you’re melting.”

As teachers in antiquated classrooms, both Carper and Salow believe that the community needs to see for themselves the state of these learning environments.

“Take the time to tour the facilities and go look at the rooms,” Carper said. “See for yourself if you think there needs to be improvements.”

Salow agrees that community members should take a look at the classrooms, adding “our district has done a very nice job of communicating our needs.”

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. March 2 at the Ryan City Hall, the Dundee Community Center, the Manchester Fire Station and the Seibert Park Memorial Hall. To find your polling place, you can visit this website.

Residents can register to vote before the election either online or by filling out an application and mailing it to Carla K. Becker at the Delaware County Auditor’s Office at 301 E. Main Street Room 210 in Manchester. Otherwise, residents can register to vote at their polling place the same day of the election by bringing proof of ID and proof of residence.

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