Group presents $87M proposal to fix issues in Milton school district

PHOTOS: Group presents $87M proposal to fix issues in Milton school district

The School District of Milton faces overcrowding issues and buildings that are getting old, but a group has come up with a plan to help alleviate the problem.

The Facilities Advisory Community Team proposed an $87 million plan to revamp the school system.

FACT is a group of 22 members of the Milton community who were self-nominated and self-selected.

“They looked at what are the limitations of our current facilities on our current programming and where we wanted to take our curricular programming in the future,” District Administrator Tim Schigur said.

The group met nine times over the course of four months.

“We toured the schools, looked at previous strategic studies that had been done,” FACT co-chair Lesley Hammer said. “We met with administrators. We met with the curriculum leaders. We met with co-curricular directors, and we looked at the facilities inside and out, top to bottom.”

The group found overcrowding was a big issue.

“We have our largest enrollment in the history of the school district,” Schigur said. “We are projected to increase enrollment, and so with that, we obviously have space and crowding issues.”

In addition to overcrowding, the group found a problem with aging buildings.

“We found that our educators really give our students a quality education, but they’re limited by our facilities,” Hammer said.

“We do a great job of maintaining our buildings, but they’re older,” Schigur said. “They’re 40 to 50 years old, and so there’s definitely some updates that are needed.”

In a presentation to the school board Monday night, Hammer presented the group’s proposal.

It includes building a new high school for students in ninth through 12th grades. The high school would include a shell for a four-station field house, a swimming pool and a black box space for performing arts.

The middle school would move to the existing high school and new construction and renovations would be completed on the building. The middle school would become a facility for students in sixth through eighth grades.

The existing middle school would be left empty.

“The middle school building would still be available for district use,” Hammer said. “And we’re leaving the school board flexibility to identify what they need to do with that building.”

Northside Intermediate would have ADA, safety and maintenance items added. Students in third through fifth grades would attend the school.

The elementary schools would be for students in pre-K through second grade. Construction and renovations would be completed on Milton East, Milton West and Harmony elementary schools, as well as adding ADA, safety and maintenance updates.

Hammer said the updates to the buildings would help improve the learning environment for students.

“The new, modern facility would give the opportunity for them to move their chairs around and teach them in ways that aren’t available right now,” she said.

Along with the $87 million price tag, a $2.5 million a year operating cost would have to be paid for five years. Broken down, Hammer said the cost for a $100,000 house would be about $192 a year for 20 years for the proposal and $124 a year for five years for the operating costs.

“It’s actually less than $1 a day for the average homeowner,” Hammer said.

Schigur said the next step is for the school board to discuss the proposal. The board would have to vote on the plan by its Aug. 15 meeting for it to appear on the November ballot.