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In need of improvement

Regardless of how you stand on the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 $86-million bond issue, safety aspects in certain schools such as Carbondale Middle School, Carbondale Elementary, Glenwood Springs High School and Basalt Elementary need to be addressed.Walking into these schools, eyes and ears – and in the case of Carbondale Middle School, nose – do the talking. Cluttered hallways, poor ventilation, collapsing ceilings and asbestos are common complaints among teachers and students. For those who don’t have time to tour the schools before the election, here’s a virtual newspaper tour of Re-1’s most structurally challenged schools:Carbondale Elementary”It’s a good thing we have talented, creative teachers,” said Carbondale Elementary principal Anna DeLay as she pointed out wall decorations hiding water spots in Carbondale Elementary’s three modular buildings.The modulars are not connected to the school and were added to accommodate growth.During several rain storms, modular walls filled with water and flooded the classrooms. Recently, modular carpet was steam-cleaned, but the modulars still have a moldy funk. The main building has similar problems: leaky roofs, bad plumbing and terrible ventilation, DeLay said. The asbestos in the building is so bad it causes students and teachers to become ill, DeLay said.Last year, DeLay missed several days of school because the asbestos made her sick, she said.”This really is about brining the school up to health and safety standards,” DeLay said. Carbondale Middle SchoolJane Bryan, Carbondale Middle School reading teacher, has been playing musical desks since August.Bryan made her first move when an August rainstorm caused the roof above her desk to leak. Bryan moved slightly out of harm’s way, expecting the roof would be fixed. The next time it rained, a portion of the roof fell apart, and Bryan was forced to move her desk and computer across the room.The ceiling hasn’t been fixed. Wires hang from the hole, though none are close enough to touch the students, and the buckets lying on the floor to catch any leakage are a permanent fixture in the classroom. Sagging, water-damaged ceilings are common at Carbondale Middle School. The cafeteria also has buckets to catch roof leakage.Two of the classrooms in Carbondale Middle School vibrate, and the antiquated florescent lights in all of the classrooms give many of the students headaches, said Patti Present, vice principal of Carbondale Middle School.”Kids call this the ghetto school,” Present said. school: see page A3Decorations and other odds and ends are stored in the school’s basement. In the middle of the storage room is a stained toilet that’s been taken out of the ground. Teachers wear latex gloves when they search for decorations to protect themselves from germ-ridden mouse droppings scattered throughout the room, Present said.Glenwood Springs High SchoolThe main stairwell at Glenwood Springs High School is narrow, crowded and slippery when wet. Lucky for principal Mike Wells, no student has ever face planted down the stairs.Renovations and additions have been made to Glenwood Springs High School five time since its original construction in 1953. In the original building, classrooms are small and have high, often inoperable windows creating stuffy classrooms, said Wells. Many of the classrooms have boxes piled to the side of the room because teacher’s don’t have sufficient storage.When Glenwood High School was built, it wasn’t built with cyberspace in mind. The few outlets in each room are generally overwhelmed with plugs and chords.Students and teachers are used to choosing between one piece of electrical equipment or the other to prevent blown circuits. “We would not be building a building for 2006,” Wells said. “We would be building a building for 2056. It just makes sense to do this. The infrastructure of the building is shot. The people of Glenwood Springs have gotten their money’s worth out of this building. It has served the community well.”Basalt Elementary SchoolBy first grade, Basalt Elementary students are expected to know how to circumvent their “campus.”The campus is a conglomeration of five buildings.Though the kids are responsible and teachers watch out for them when they’re moving from building to building, it would be better if students could learn under one roof, said Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo, principal of Basalt Elementary.Internet and phone wires connect the Red Brick Building to Basalt’s main building. The wires are not dangerous to the students but have a tendency to fall and Basalt Elementary would prefer to keep its new technology off the ground, Wheeler-Del Piccolo said.Basalt Elementary also needs more water sources, handicap accessibility and a play area that doesn’t get flooded during rain and snow storms, Wheeler-Del Piccolo said.To catch buses, the elementary students must cross a parking lot and walk to the middle school. If the bond passes, the district plans to restructure bus pick-up and drop-off so students don’t have to walk through a parking lot.”If this doesn’t pass, we don’t want parents to think this is an unsafe place for kids,” Wheeler-Del Piccolo said. “It’s hard to point out the negative aspects when this is such a positive place.”Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534ivogel@postindependent.com


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