Making the investment for community, children

To the editor:

My wife and I moved to Marshall over 38 years ago and we decided to stay in Marshall because of great education choices, low crime, good job opportunities and a perfect place to raise our family. I currently serve on the Marshall School Board and the school facilities committee and I wanted to share some facts on the West Side building and the upcoming school referendum.

West Side school was built in 1955 and has served the community very well for a long time, but that being said, this well-used and loved building is over 60 years old. As with any facility of this age it has some major issues that are in need of being attended to.

The plumbing is worn out, the boiler is original, the electrical system is not capable of handling the needs of the school curriculum.

In addition we also have a big issue and need to improve air quality. On top of all of that it is no surprise that after 60-plus years, the roof has been patched many times and needs to be totally replaced.

Because of the needs of our students we have been forced to turn the teachers’ break room, storage closets and even part of the gym into classrooms because there is simply no room to grow.

As a committee we did extensive research and an in depth study to see what it would cost to bring the building up to code and that figure came out to be $9.5 million and to add the much-needed classrooms would be another $3.5 million. A grand total of 13 million.

With that we would still have a 60-plus year-old building and landlocked in a terrible traffic area. To build a new building to handle three grades would be $21.9 million. To me this is a better option and it is one of those things that won’t go away and every year we postpone building projects the price rises. I believe that the time is now for all of the above stated reasons.

I know this will be a tax increase for all of us, but paying taxes is a necessary investment in our community, children, grandchildren, police department, our fire department, good roads.

If we want to have a community that we can be proud of we have to invest in the future and I think there is nothing more important than investing in the education of our future generations.

Jeff Chapman