It started in September of 2018.
A postcard arrived in the mailbox of each resident within the Indian Hill School District; it was an invitation to a community meeting. At the event, District administrators took center stage to present information about school building facility needs across the District – some serious and substantial. They provided a brief history of each building and investments that had been made to maintain those facilities.
They closed with a request: Help us assess and prioritize these needs.
So began the Facilities Assessment Task Force and the important work joining community members, parents, staff, and administrators to define building needs.
From the task force emerged the Indian Hill School District’s community-based Facilities Steering Committee; in October 2019, after a year of extensive review, research, and analyses, that committee presented the Board of Education with four options to address needs for school facilities within the Indian Hill School District. The committee chairs presented findings on behalf of the full committee, and agreed and noted that of most critical concern are the needs facing Indian Hill Middle School.
In all options presented, the committee recommended replacing Indian Hill Middle School.
It is also important to note that when the District Facilities Steering Committee set their mission and vision for the facilities assessment process, safety and security ranked No. 1 under the committee’s considerations. During that process, the committee assessed each building for safety and security. In their recommendation to the Board of Education during the October 2019 meeting, the committee did communicate that as a minimum level of improvement, all buildings needed safety enhancements.
We sat down with three members of that committee to capture their thoughts on the process and recommendation.
Shelli Wineland/Facilities Steering Committee
“The thing that I appreciated the most is that we started with the student at the core. So, it’s not about what we think or what we want, it’s about what the students need to thrive and continue for Indian Hill to be the best-in-class school in the country.
“I’m excited that the recommendation will keep Indian Hill where it is; we are rated as one of the top schools in the country, and how do you do that? You have to stay in front not only in what we’re teaching, but also it’s the environment in which the kids learn and grow.”
Bear Tullis/Facilities Steering Committee
“The committee had a pretty wide range of people. There were some people from the school district itself on the committee, members of the community who don’t have students, and people like me who do.
“There’s no question we have a fantastic educational program here and fantastic school district, but we were interested in seeing what we can do to the facilities to make them improved and strengthened over the years.”
Monique Sewell/Facilities Steering Committee
“There are routine maintenance upgrades that need to take place over the next 10 years; we will be funding those, one way or the other. If we do not address them in this situation they will continue to come out of operating funds, and we need to address that as a community.
“I love this school system, I love the kids, and I love the community that exists here, and so I think it’s very important that we - as a community - continue to make this an environment for our students to feel safe and to learn and to grow and to become the citizens that we want them to become.”
A LOOK BACK: WHAT DEFINED THE WORK
Create and present two to four District capital improvement scenarios for the consideration of the Board of Education that provide learning excellence for students and staff.
We envision learning environments to enhance opportunities for each student to achieve his/her potential in academics, arts, and athletics. Proposed District capital improvement scenarios will:
1. allow students and staff to thrive in safe, supportive, and collaborative learning environments;
2. incorporate best practices in K-12 learning environments while providing flexibility to adapt to future needs; and
3. optimize financial resources provided by our taxpayers to benefit students, staff, and community members.
• Safety & Security
• Learning Environments (current & future)
• Infrastructure & Energy
What was the recommendation of the community Facilities Steering Committee?
Click here to see the Facilities Steering Committee report to the Board of Education.
Photo caption: The Facilities Steering Committee presented to the Indian Hill Board of Education during the October 2019 meeting.