Board sees non-utilized space in Le Center

The Board of Education tackled a small agenda on Monday, Oct. 28, but it covered a lot of ground with a tour of its Le Center buildings.
At the beginning of the board’s workshop, Superintendent Teri Preisler told the board one of the reasons they were holding their meeting in Le Center was so they could look at their buildings there.
“The purpose of this fieldtrip is to get to know our buildings, to know their strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “It’s important to get eyes on all of our buildings to see how we can use them efficiently.”
Before the tour, facilities manager Dave Peterson told the board about some of the things they have been working on in the Le Center buildings.  Painting the interiors with uniform colors, blacktopping the parking lot and the playground, and cleaning have been the custodians’ focus.
“It’s really just an effort, in between cleaning and just getting things shined up,” he said. “Though it gets used and worn down, we’re really just giving it a fresh new look.”
The tour started in the Le Center Primary School that houses students in pre-kindergarten to grade one. On visiting some of the classrooms with custodian Lance Wetzel, board members were informed of ventilation issues/air quality, unused classrooms, and a kitchen that hasn’t been used in more than 20 years, according to conversation among the board members.
The students and staff in the building receive their lunches from the elementary/middle school. The staff bring the lunches on an insulated cart from the kitchen in that building, outside and across a courtyard to the primary school building.
According to documents that Preisler gave the board members, the building instructs 104 students in kindergarten and grade one only. The potential capacity, according to Wold Architects is 315 students.
The tour then took the group through the elementary/middle school building (grades two to eight), that formerly housed high school students before the consolidation. 
The tour in this building showed a lot of the classrooms, several of which are used for only one class each day. A few classrooms also sat empty, and a nurse’s station, instead of being in the office area where it was once located, occupied a full classroom. 
The elementary/middle school building houses 335 students, with a capacity of 486. Its potential capacity was noted to be 673 students.
After the tour, the board discussed what they saw. 
“When walking through the buildings, we saw a lot of wasted space, non-utilized space,” said board member Jody Baker.
Board chair Liz Krocak said the first thing she noticed was a lack of TCU “branding” in every building.
Kevin Huber said he still saw some purple in spots, and paw prints from Le Center’s previous mascot, the Wildcats.
Referring to the primary school, Krocak wondered if there was a maintenance schedule for upkeep on the building.
“My impression is there are spaces in that building that are tired,” she said. “We have to determine the best use of those spaces.”

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