A citizens committee has been appointed to craft a long-range facilities plan for the Winfield school district — the latest step in a years-long process that could lead to a bond issue supported local taxes.

Winfield board of education on Monday heard from

Randy Weseman, of the Kansas Association of School Boards, about where the district is now and where it might want to go in thinking about upgrading or changing facilities. It has been about 16 years since the last bond issue to upgrade facilities was passed by voters, a $24 million plan. 

Earlier this year the board held a work session with a local architectural firm to review facilities; it also met with a school bond consultant in May.

A binder of information on each school show maps of possible options. Some suggestions included a new elementary school that would hold all the district children, a reconfiguration of the elementary schools, a new high school, a new sports complex, and changes to individual schools.

Weseman is a consultant who helps school districts address the challenges of developing a facilities plan. Superintendent Dr. Nathan Reed worked with Weseman at another school district.

Weseman said USD 465 has done plenty of studying and needs to start coming up with a plan of action. 

The district has established a committee of residents interested in working on the facilities plan. Community Advisory and Support members are: Scott Schoon, Jeff Wilson, Heather James, Missi Henderson, Joanna Brazil, Doug Reid, Gail Sawyer, Willie Tuttle, Sarah Morton, Sara William, Jamie Chism, Carl Jewers, Cindy Goertz, Angela Norton, Lucy Herlocker Freeman, Sarah Werner, Jill Long and Renee Price.

The committee meetings will be open, Weseman said, so anyone can sit in on them.

Weseman suggested the group meet once a month for four months and at the end of that time, see how far they’ve come and what they still have to do. He said the first meeting is important to lay the groundwork for the process.

At that meeting the committee will outline goals and tasks, tour facilities, listen to concerns of faculty and staff and complete perception surveys. 

The three following meetings will follow up on what the committee finds out at the first one. 

For the plan to be successful, Weseman said, the committee will have to be in close contact with the community to make sure its opinions are included in any thinking about the plan.

Weseman was not projecting any outcomes for the meeting process, nothing about what will happen to buildings or taxes or bond issues. He spoke only about getting the process under way.

Board chair Lyle Weinert suggested the district might want to hire Weseman, who was speaking to the board without a contract.

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