New Trier High School in Winnetka - To Renovate or Not?
A volatile subject sure to raise hackles in the coming 2 months is not whether New Trier needs a renovation, because most residents believe it does. The issue is just how much renovation it needs and at what cost.
One proposal early on called for the complete rebuild of the school with an accompanying price tag of $400 million which was denounced as too expensive and too intrusive to the community. Other ideas called for enlarging the Northfield campus, rebuilding just the west side, or just continuing to make repairs as they were needed.
What ultimatley has been proposed is replacing the:
- Gates Gymnasium
- Tech Arts Building
- Music/Performing Arts Building
This work is estimated to take 2 1/2 years and cost around $174 million. For the New Trier township resident this translates to $250 per $10,000 of tax bill.
There are compelling reasons to undertake these repairs at this time. Many of the classrooms were built between 1930-1950 and are not equipped for modern technology. Additional repairs are made every year but are considered to be no more than stop-gap, thus wasting tax dollars. Also at issue is negotiating more favorable rates for the work during a recession.
There are plenty of people, however, who feel that the work is unnecessary and overly extravagant. They fear that taxes across the board will be increasing and this project will be the proverbial camel. They simply want to scale back the project. They wonder why the Northfield campus is not given more consideration in light of its location in a less densely populated area where parking is abundant. The Winnetka campus is considerably smaller in size and more dense.
The New Trier School Board is asking voters to support a referendum on February 2, 2010 via a bond issue for $174 million.
Both sides have set up websites with clear pro/con arguments, plans, photos, essays and letters to defend their stance. They can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.
Our New Trier is in favor of the referendum.
New Trier Choices is against the work proceeding in its current design and cost.
There will be more written on this subject as I talk to people and gather opinions. What are your thoughts?