About 70 people attended a public hearing Tuesday to offer feedback on recommendations by the Baker School District's Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. The committee, after studying the district's facilities over the past year, has identified several major issues:
Safety and security at all schools
Aging buildings with high maintenance and energy costs (average age of instructional buildings is 79 years).
Overcrowding at elementary and middle schools
Underutilization of Baker High School, which serves only 435 students in a space designed for 830.
Among the committee's recommendations:
Make safety and security improvements at all schools, including secure entries and key card systems to better control access
Make energy efficiency improvements at all schools, including upgrading the heating and ventilation systems at Keating and Haines elementary schools
Build a new, energy efficient elementary school for Grades 1-6 on land the district owns north of Baker High School. This would address overcrowding at the elementary level and create a modern learning environment, with classrooms that have space for hands-on, individualized, collaborative learning.
Move 7th and 8th grades to Baker High School (with separation between grades 7-8 and 9-12). This would address overcrowding at the middle school and utilize existing space at the high school. It would provide 7th and 8th graders an earlier start at building career-ready skills by providing access to state-of-the-art vocational programs and advanced course work. It would also result in cost savings by maintaining only one building instead of two and through other efficiencies.
The School Board will consider the committee's recommendations and how to fund them at the July 26 board meeting. The meeting will start at xx p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, 1655 1st Street, Baker City.
Click hear to listen to the public hearing
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