Thursday, March 29, 2012

Already a shifting puzzle . . .
When starting to put a puzzle together I like to know that all of the pieces are in the box and I always begin with the frame. The puzzle that we face in trying to potentially build a new high school in the “donut hole” became a little more difficult today. In a brief conversation with a staff member in Executive Constantine’s office I learned that a land swap will not be a possibility, we will need to purchase the property. Though it is not necessarily what we or executive staff prefer, it is necessary because the property is owned by the Roads Division and current law requires that they receive full value for any surplus property.

Add to this that last week I learned that there is currently an agreement for future development on the site between the city and county that does not allow for a school. So, before we can even begin fitting pieces of the puzzle together the frame keeps moving. This could be depressing and cause us to fall back on our previous plans to build on the Junior High site, or it could mean that we need to get going and begin using some of the skills in our Outcomes and Indicators to ensure that we have the proper puzzle pieces and that they fit together. The vision is still hazy, but it also remains alive even with this new information.  I’m all for finding the necessary pieces and asked the county staffer today to arrange for a meeting to formally begin the conversations.

There are too many positive benefits to this potential project for us to not exhaust all possible options for securing the property and moving forward. It will not be easy as we find ourselves in the middle of difficult conversations between the county and city on a vision for this property, but perhaps we can serve a useful role with the district’s new high school as a visual symbol of how public agencies can partner for the greater good. This is a great example of the “real world” problems that we want our young people to engage with and an opportunity for the adults to roll up their sleeves and model being complex thinkers, collaborative workers, effective communicators, quality producers and community contributors. Wow, one problem with so much opportunity for learning and growth.

No comments: