On Oct. 30, during the D200 school board town hall meeting to gather community input on its $218 million draft facilities master plan, the board prefaced the discussion by showing a short video produced by the Imagine group, the creators of the draft plan. The video’s purpose was to highlight issues with the high school’s physical building. Issues such as broken ceiling tiles, a jerry-rigged water fountain, chipped paint and a few warped floorboards were featured as visuals to garner support for the proposed plan. The Imagine video itself is a source of controversy.
First, the deferred maintenance issues highlighted in the video lacked credibility and appeared “staged.” This perception is based on the findings of the May 2016 report issued by D200’s Long Term Facility Plan Committee. After a year examining the needs of the facility, students, teachers and community, the report stated: “Regular monitoring shows that the building envelope and structure of the facility are fundamentally sound and well maintained. Any minor issues that arise are addressed by the annual Capital Improvement Plan.” Just two years after the release of the report, how could there be any deferred maintenance at OPRF? How could there be neglect?
Second, the video highlighted ADA issues at the school. With $100 million in the cash reserve, why haven’t the administration and board addressed these basic needs? There should be no discussion on needs-based ADA issues. Fix them already!
It appeared the goal of the Imagine video was to provide justification to demolish and rebuild one third of the structurally sound building. Instead, it served as an indictment of D200’s dereliction of duty, failing to address building maintenance and to upgrade the facility to meet ADA standards.
The video in my opinion was an exercise in propaganda.