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The future of SV Elementary is in community's hands

Spring Valley Elementary's current location downtown Spring Valley is an asset to the village, village board members agreed. In a recent meeting between village officials and school board members, they expressed their desire the school stay in the village. File photo1 / 2
The original portion of the Spring Valley Elementary building was built in 1929. Additions came in 1950, again in 1968, and finally in 1973. File photo 2 / 2

As the Spring Valley School Board continues working towards a plan for the district's elementary school building, the board has been reaching out to citizens to ensure whatever plan is chosen meets the expectations of the community.

"It's their elementary school," said School District Superintendent Dr. Donald Haack. "I take care of the schools, but the schools belong to the citizens of the Spring Valley district. And we want to do with the schools what they want us to do. So we need to get a really, really good feeling for what they want."

So, Haack said, the school board started by inviting the Spring Valley Village Board to a special meeting held before it's regular 7 p.m. board meeting Monday, Nov. 20.

Haack said the conversation with the board went really well.

"One of the themes that came out from the village board was that they felt like the elementary school should be in the village," Haack said. "They really like having it there, but they were open to other ideas."

The district has talked about the possibility, for example, of possible closing down or rerouting a street for construction purposes; the board seemed generally open to that possibility, Haack said.

"Right now we're trying to get a feel for what those folks think and then maybe narrow down the options, and have more and more community meetings," said Haack. "We've invited representatives from town boards to a kind of similar forum before the next board meeting on Dec. 11."

The next step after that will be community forums and community surveys, and more efforts to find out what people want for their elementary school.

The elementary school is building is aging. The original portion of the building was built in 1929. Additions came in 1950, again in 1968, and finally in 1973.

Due to multiple additions, parts of the school are on different levels, requiring ramps and lifts for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Haack said the district's first goal is to assess options for the elementary, which means soliciting advice from consultants and architects.

Some options might be total renovation, a new building, some renovation and/or an addition, or nothing, Haack said.

Current renovation projects

The school board was also updated on its ongoing renovation projects, most of which are at the middle/high school. At the middle/high school:

• New boilers are in place and working well

• New LED parking lot lights are illuminating the lot

• Projects planned over the holiday break include a gender neutral shower area, pug mill exhaust for the art room, a dryer hook-up, all at the middle/high school, and a new sink for the elementary office.

• Summer projects include re-paving the middle/high school parking lot, LED lighting in the middle/high school gym, other LED lighting and a possible start on working with windows at the middle/high school.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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