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Recap on Facilities Focus Group Meetings

Recap on Facilities Focus Group Meetings
Danielle Mikula

Over the past month, a large group of stakeholders within our community have dedicated multiple hours of their time over three workgroup meetings dedicated to future planning at South Shore. The team worked together to better understand our facility needs, review master plans, provide feedback, and evaluate the financial scope and impact of potential solutions.

Through this process, the focus group has reviewed significant facility needs that impact the health and safety of our students. A recap of the greatest prioritized needs are summarized as follows:

  1. Failing Major Building Systems

    1. The heating and ventilation system is double the life expectancy and failing.

    2. HVAC systems are not efficient, which leads to waste and inefficiency in utility costs.

    3. Indoor air quality is a major area of concern and does not meet current codes.

    4. Most electrical and plumbing system components are original to building and deteriorating.

  2. Safety Concerns

    1. Pick-up/drop-off areas are poorly configured, creating congestion and safety issues.

    2. Main entrance needs to be better secured to control visitor access to the building.

    3. Major components of security cameras and emergency communication systems need to be replaced.

    4. Multiple areas of the building are not ADA compliant.

    5. The building has had flooding and drainage issues.

  3. Small and Outdated Classrooms and Support Spaces

    1. Classrooms and labs are small and outdated, limiting the educational experience for students and decreasing opportunities for collaboration and innovation in learning.

    2. Hallways and cafeteria are too small for enrollment, which has grown 25% over the past 10 years and continues to increase.

    3. Significant replacement needs exist with items such as flooring, cabinetry, windows, lighting, etc. 

One theme that resounded loud and clear from the focus group is that the South Shore School District can and should be the “hub of the community”. They emphasized the strong desire and importance of having facilities that are designed to bring our community into the school. Plans discussed include a community accessible fitness center, the potential for expanded childcare space, and gathering spaces readily available for community member use.

Next Steps

The focus group will be presenting information to the Board of Education on February 21 beginning at 5:30pm. The board will hear the feedback from the focus group and consider the next step of hiring an independent firm to conduct an unbiased community wide survey to all taxpayers in our district.  The information provided by all of you as community members will provide key information to our school board on whether moving to referendum is a viable option that our community would support, and which priorities are most important to you.

We will continue to communicate updates to keep you informed on discussions and progress. After the February 21 board meeting, our team will begin to share draft concept plans and hold facility tours to anyone interested either by appointment or during upcoming events. Please reach out to Dani Mikula ( to schedule a tour, ask questions and get more information.