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School looks at “curb appeal”

Ely Echo - Staff Photo

by Tom Coombe

As a major improvement project at the Ely schools goes into overtime of sorts, one board member suggested the district do more to enhance the exterior of the campus.

Discussion at Monday’s school board study session turned to ongoing landscaping and grass seeding, as well as anticipated improvements to the track area.

Board member Tom Omerza cited a discussion with a local property owner and suggested the district do more for “curb appeal.”

“I think part of it is we’ve done so much with the buildings, inside and out,” said Omerza. “I think for curb appeal, to get more families, and the first impression they have coming up to the campus. It might be a discussion where eventually we look at do we need funds for the whole shooting match.”

Omerza pointed to both the track and football field and “that area by the end zone,” and “between the baseball field and Stukel Way, it’s just in need of landscaping.”

Tim Leeson, the district’s facilities director, said he has been active moving sprinklers around to areas that were seeded this summer and that contractors “will keep working on it,” until it meets the district’s expectations.

For years, Ely’s high school track teams have operated without a track to practice on, and have utilized city streets and an avenue near the school to run and prepare for hurdles event.

A throwing area on the west side of the football field will be renovated and superintendent Anne Oelke said ‘there’s a really good chance” some improvements to the track will be completed next summer.

Board member Tony Colarich said funding is one of the obstacles when addressing facilities needs.

“The track is on the list,” said Colarich. “We surely haven’t forgotten about the track or anything else out there.”

Omerza said he’d like to see track improvements given a high priority, citing liability concerns.

Thanks to legislation passed this year, the district has better than $4 million for its facilities project, but that was allocated to pay for portions of the facilities project hat were taken out earlier because of cost overruns, including further window replacement, new doors and classroom improvements.

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