Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 25, 2012

Survey results to be presented at forum

The survey was launched online this week for student input on the new high school building

By NICK MARIANO
nick.mariano@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — Results of a student body survey on various educational questions related to the construction of a new high school are expected to be presented next week at the first of two forums seeking public comment on the district’s future building, one administrator said Wednesday.

The survey was launched online this week at Mt. Vernon Township High School to receive student input on the new building, scheduled to be built in 2013. It will replace the existing campus, opened in 1905.

Voters approved a referendum for a $19.8 million bond issue in April last year to build the new, 300,000-square-foot single building. About two-thirds of the roughly $70 million project will be paid by the state.

District officials, teachers and staff have been working on design of the building for nearly two years up until this month and are now prepared to present their ideas to a wider audience and receive feedback.

Two, day-long public forums have been scheduled —  one on Monday and the other on Nov. 5 — to view proposed designs and to generate public comment on the plans. Forums on both days are scheduled at the high school for afternoon sessions beginning at 1 p.m. and evening sessions beginning at 5:30 p.m.

High school Principal Wes Olson said current students bring a unique perspective to those discussions and that their input will carry equal weight.

“It’s going to take a lot of voices and lot of people and a lot of time to make it happen, and the student voice is an integral part of that,” Olson said. “Student perspective is most important, and I’m excited to see their comments.”

The online, 18-question survey represents the first formal step to engage students in the process though some teachers have incorporated the building project within their classrooms, Olson said.

As the public forums are scheduled to do, the survey covers a wide range of factors related to the school environment, including technology and media, athletics, and the cafeteria, to name a few, Olson said.

“Mostly, it’s directed at what they want the new high school to be like and what is important to them,” the principal said.

As of Wednesday, more than 100 students had responded to the survey. Olson is hoping for more, he said. The goal is to provide the results to the district’s architects so that they may incorporate them in their presentations at Monday’s forum.