by Larry Austin
Grand Island Board of Education members continued their ongoing review of building conditions in the district with a 20-minute tour of Veronica Connor Middle School Monday.
The tour is part of the board's analysis of building needs in contemplation of a capital project of upgrades and repairs.
Connor Middle School Principal Bruce Benson's prefatory remarks to board members omitted the "good."
"We're going to show you the bad and the ugly," Benson said before he and Assistant Principal Eleanor Payne led the tour. They highlighted building needs and deficiencies, which are all documented in a recently completed building condition survey, Benson said.
Among the building lowlights:
•The therapy room for students with special needs doubles as a storage room. "It's definitely not ideal, but it's a place where they can keep all their equipment," Benson said.
•The science rooms are "pretty much outdated," Benson said. He explained that electrical wires taped to the floor are needed to provide more power.
•All the rooms in the eighth-grade wing have heat problems, Benson said, and moisture problems have caused damage to the walls.
•Library carpeting is original and needs replacement. "It's just worn out in places," Benson said.
•A ceiling has a major leak in a well-traveled corridor. "When it rains, we have to put a bucket here in the middle of the hallway," he said.
•Benson said the lockers have not been repainted in 15 years "and are starting to show some wear." In the sixth-grade wing, he said, "The lockers are so cheap that they can bend." The sixth-graders "have a devil of a time because they're always getting jammed."
•A sewer line running through the gym wings and out into the high school parking lot has back-up issues. "It always happens during the lunch periods," Benson noted.
•Moisture problems manifest themselves in the gymnasium as well. "The moisture is actually eating the wall away," Benson said as he stood in one storage room.
•Benson directed attention to the ceiling of the shop classroom. "You'll see if you look up, the pipes are all covered with sawdust," Benson said, illustrating a need for better ventilation.
"We have a beautiful facility here. We really do. We're able to do almost everything we want to do, but there are a lot of things that if we don't take care of we're going to lose," Benson said.