On Monday night, September 28, the Owen-Withee School Board hosted an informal discussion on the November referendum. Attending were Ryan Iverson from Market & Johnson construction specialists and Troy Miller from LHB architectural designs.
District Administrator Bob Houts directed the discussion and served as moderator for the questions from the attendees. There were 13 people in attendance with questions aplenty. Iverson and Miller, with Bob Houts and Dr. Julie Wendler, deftly answered the questions.
Why is FEMA giving these grants to build sheltering domes? “Because for every dollar FEMA spends on construction, they save six dollars in reconstruction costs.”
How big is the structure? “It is 125 feet in diameter. A total of 12,000 sq.ft.”
Why a dome? “Because a dome is 20% less expensive to build due to structural issues. Angular buildings have wind issues, updraft concerns, and other issues. There is no wind force against a dome because the dome’s curves allow the wind to bend around the structure. There is more value per sq. ft. with a dome than with a box building. Domes are economical to build.”
How long will construction take? “It will take about one year until completion.”
Will local contractors be used? “Yes, we know that is important to the Owen-Withee community. We have not reached out yet but we will be.”
Will current kitchen and cafeteria fixtures be used in the new facilities? “Yes. As much as possible, we will relocate the equipment to the new site.”
How will it be heated? “Using the same system we have now. But it will include lower-velocity fans.”
Will there be windows in the dome? “Yes, we have designed windows to be used in the dome.”
What will it cost to furnish the dome? “[Emphatically] There will be no additional costs. All furnishings and equipment, overages and overtimes, have been included in the price we have named. The referendum funds will cover everything. There will be no coming back for more.”
And, once again, our school taxes will be less than last year? “Yes. Even with the referendum, the taxes will be less than last year’s. But the good news is that the state will reimburse us 60% of that and this will lower the rates in the second year. The net increase may be only 17¢. But all of that has to wait until October 15, when state aid is finally determined.”
In the end, the community leaders expressed an eagerness for more informational meetings which Bob Houts confirmed would indeed be forthcoming.
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