A loyal reader has sent an email with some interesting commentary about Richards school's construction. Admittedly, I am no expert on the subject, so he's given me permission to republish his email.
I have bolded a few items below to draw out the most pertinent items.
(Additionally, check out the YesYes Blog which covers this subject as well.)
From: Seth Zlotocha firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010
Subject: Richards Tennis Courts & Playground
As most of you probably know, voters in the village approved a referendum last November to conduct renovations and expansions at all of the district schools, including Richards. My neighbors are probably aware that I actively supported the referendum, and still support what was approved last November.
However, what is less known is that this construction -- as detailed in plans just this spring, after the referendum vote -- is going to result in the permanent elimination of the Richards tennis courts and the temporary removal, with no determined date of reconstruction, of the north end playground on the corner of Santa Monica and Belle.
The main project at Richards involves the construction of a new multipurpose room on the north end of the building. The planned location of the new room is on top of the current teacher parking lot and playground on that side of the building. The plans that were publicly available at the time of the referendum last fall indicated the playground would need to be relocated, and plans were to move the parking lot to the location in between the tennis courts and the back of the building (current location of bike racks).
In email communications with the superintendent this spring, however, it's come to my attention that plans have changed for the parking lot, and it's now scheduled to be placed on top of the current tennis courts rather than next to them. The attached diagram was sent to me by the superintendent, and it outlines the new plan.
This new plan results in the elimination of 4 of the 6 tennis courts currently available on the north end of the village (leaving just the two courts at Klode), which effectively eliminates (or at least greatly complicates) the tennis instruction Richards students currently get during gym class (the big kids are actually getting that instruction now), and eliminates a popular spot for tennis and play for kids, families, and the recreation department.
In terms of the playground, although initial plans suggested the relocation would be part of the construction process, my emails with the superintendent indicate now that replacement of the playground is only something "Richards hopes" to complete "in the future." This is concerning for a few reasons: 1) the emphasis on Richards replacing it, as opposed to emphasizing it as a district issue, 2) the word "hope," suggesting a replacement isn't a guaranteed, and 3) the "in the future" phrase, which means, at the least, the loss of the only playground on site that's well-suited for younger children for an undetermined amount of time.
More information on the Richards construction can be found here: http://yesyesprogress.com/richards
For those who are interested, the school board is planning to hold an open house in a couple of weeks where the architects of the construction will be on hand to talk about the current plans, and board members will be on hand to hear your comments, as well. That open house is scheduled to take place from 6:00-7:00pm on Wednesday, May 26 in Room 47 of the WFB High School. A school board meeting will immediately follow the open house.
Thanks, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions.
Seth Zlotocha email@example.com