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Chat about school construction with Tom Bracciano

July 11, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Tom Bracciano

The school district's Tom Bracciano will take your questions about progress at Southwest Junior High and other construction sites.

Moderator:

Welcome to an early online chat with facilities and operations director Tom Bracciano. I'm 6News anchor/reporter Deanna Richards. Welcome, Tom. Thanks for joining us this morning.

Tom Bracciano:

Great to be here, Just talkin' w/Steve about life. I think we got it all figured out.

Moderator:

Alright! I'll take any advice you can give! Well, maybe we can start with a rundown of where the construction projects stand right now. Any of them finished?

Tom Bracciano:

Yes they are. Well more specifically........... WJHS, CJHS, LFSHS and SWJHS are for all intents and purposes finished. We are in the process of getting the portables removed from all secondary locations. The rain this summer has slowed that down but they are being moved out.

Work remains to be done at LHS, Broken Arrow and SJHS. LHS will be finished this summer and SJHS and Broken Arrow will be completely finished shortly after schools starts. The work at Broken Arrow and SJHS will not stop us from having school at those locations however.

Sorry kids, we'll have school at all buidlings as scheduled.

Moderator:

Speaking of school, what should parents and students expect when the first day gets here?

Tom Bracciano:

Things will be pretty much normal at all locations except SJHS and Broken Arrow. At that site expect some inconveniences with parking and drop offs. This project has been fast tracked and therefore we won't have the parking lot for the new SJHS completed. Parents and students should expect some delays and differernt traffic patterns for the first couple of months at SJHS/BA.
Classes at SJHS and Broken Arrow will go on as usual but there will be construction still ongoing in those buildings. The gym at SJHS will not be done so some alternate arrangements for PE classes and volleyball have been made.
As always we ask that parents and students at all our schools be extra careful the first couple of days of school. there are new students in new environments so be keep and extra eye out, slow down and be prepared for delays. It's a good idea to give yourself soem extra time the first couple of weeks

Moderator:

OK. And what about construction plans for the future? Something tells me these improvements will not be the last Lawrence Public Schools see.

Tom Bracciano:

You are right as usual Deanna. By the way my apologies for the horrendous spelling in the last paragraph. Got my fingers all messed up...................... must be the keyboard. Anyway....... this last bond issue addressed many of theneeds we had at our secondary schools. Now it's time to address the elementaries. Last year we worked on a plan to take care of many defferred maintenance issues through performance contracting. We were waiting for some legal opinions and thos have come back. We have a better understanding of the law and can now structure a plan that we would feel comfortable meets the state statute. I am hoping we can get something pulled together that the BOE would be happy with in time to start renovations at the elementaries next summer. Thanks for fixing the keyboard...... the spelling looks alot better.

Moderator:

What kind of improvements at the elementary level? Any ideas of what you're thinking about doing?

Tom Bracciano:

Great question Deanna - There has been alot of press about defferred maintenance at the University level. Well we have the same issues in public K-12. Old galvanized water lines that leave a rusty color and taste in the water, window air conditioners that overload the electrical systems, insufficient parking for buildings that now have more riders than walkers, restrooms that were built in the 20's, 30's and 50's that have never been renovated. These are all iissues that need to be addressed if our facilities are going to be not only equitable but competitive in the K-12 market.

Moderator:

Equitable I get. What do you mean by "competitive"?

Tom Bracciano:

I beleive that the public schools have entered a "new market" in the past decade. Parents and companies now shop public schools. Public schools are a huge marketing tool for cities and companies. To keep our base student population and increase it, we must compete for students. Our Board understands this. We have top flight teachers, administrators and support staff. Our curriculum is top notch. The last piece is our infrastructure our buildings. We have to have top notch facilities to compete. We can't just rely on our staff and curriculum. I beleive this and my staff beleives this. We can no longer maintain our buildings. We have to improve and market them. Our klids deserve that.

Moderator:

Alright, Tom. Well, I guess it's just a little too early for our fellow chat-ers! Thanks for stopping by the newscenter and filling us in.

Tom Bracciano:

Always my pleasure Deanna - by the way congrats on your upcoming wedding. Lucky guy! Wish you the best and much happiness. And please get the spell ck fixed before you ask me back.

Moderator:

Thanks, Tom.

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