Chloe Alverson ‘17
David Andrews ‘16
Morgan Brown ‘17 – Pipes bursting, ceiling tiles falling, and water flooding the building sounds like something out of a horror movie. However, this is no horror movie, these are daily conditions of the buildings in the Romeo Community Schools (RCS) district.
The poor building conditions are not just eyesores, nor do they just force students to stay home, it has now reached the point of student safety being at risk. If the building is literally crumbling on top of students, how can anyone expect the students to take their education seriously when they are at risk to be injured? Crumbling conditions at RHS is an epidemic, it is not just “one faulty part”.
On May 3rd, Romeo residents have the opportunity to vote to improve the safety of each school in the community. If passed, the bond ensures much needed reparations to every school, and redesigns the district in a way that will benefit the academic and environmental needs of all students.
Walking through the front doors of RHS, one will immediately notice the red squares taped up on the walls, windows, and doors. By placing the red squares around the high school, the Romeo Community School board hopes to persuade those who walk the halls to vote in favor of the bond.
Romeo High School is no exception to the increasingly dangerous conditions plaguing the district. With moldy, stained ceiling tiles, dirt covered walls, and mice defecating in the office, the neglect of RHS has made the school filthy. Teachers are growing frustrated, as their unclean classrooms lead to a less than desirable academic environment.
“We teach because we believe that we have some of the best students in the world,” an anonymous source said. “We are their parents in some regards, and we want to give our children the best. That’s my passion, and I feel like it’s not here.”
The conditions of the schools are becoming dangerous. A few weeks ago, a student (who wishes to remain anonymous) was struck by a falling ceiling tile.
“I was walking, talking to a friend, and the ceiling [tile] fell and hit my face,” the student said.
The principal of RHS was questioned on the incident.
“My first reaction, as it always is, [was] to make sure the student is okay,” Mr. Michael Kaufman said. “I was concerned. Before anything else, student safety is a priority.”
Powell Middle School will transform into an academy for ninth grade students, allowing for a smoother transition into high school. The school board believes that this will give freshman the opportunity to adapt to a higher level academic system before high school with “specific programming that is designed to help them be successful”.
The newest building to the district is the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center (RETC). Its youth would lead one to believe that this building experiences zero to minor issues. In the recent past, the RETC building endured an incident in which a pipe malfunctioned, leading to a flood and massive disruption. The director of the RETC building, Mrs. Natalie Davis, said the pipe malfunction was not caused by the pipes freezing and bursting, but by a faulty part.
With help from the passing of the bond in question, the RETC will be expanded and repaired, and will house students from grades 10-12. The upgrades stretch from inside the building to Barnabo field, where the bleachers, bathrooms, and concession stands will be replaced.
In stark contrast to the RETC’s youth, the aging Romeo Middle School (RMS) is beginning to show its age. RMS students were kept home for two days this month, February 3 due to flooding of the RMS building. A pipe burst in the wall, causing water to run through Tuesday night. The basement, four classrooms, two bathrooms, the teacher’s lounge, and the counseling office were affected by the flood. The poor conditions of the middle school are no longer just aesthetic eyesores; they have reached the point of interfering with the day-to-day operations of the building and the education process.
Under the 25 year proposal, Romeo Middle School will be completely demolished and restored to a blank land plot. According to the school board, architects have deemed it impossible to fix the building; therefore, Romeo High School will become the new middle school, housing former RMS students as well as those from Powell.
Brad Martz, principal of Romeo Middle, said that the larger middle school would bring about “a lot of possibilities and opportunities for involvement of the students.”
Each school in the district, including the five elementary schools and Croswell Center, will undergo reparations to their ceilings, lighting, and flooring, as well as securing entrances and relocating classrooms. Every change made is meant to bring about higher academic standards and safety to students.
If passed, the bond will unite the district like never before. With students from Washington Township and Romeo attending the same middle and high school, socialization within the community will provide closer ties between every person.
“People are confused by the unity that will happen between Romeo and Washington Township,” Ms. Kristen Famiano, a counselor at RHS, said. “But we are one Romeo, and I think we’re definitely taking a step forward.”
If the proposal is enacted, two shifts of repairs will be made as soon as possible, scheduled for June 2016 and May 2020.
Take a look at all the red squares taped up around the school, and consider the effects of a positive step forward in renovation, safety, and academic improvement in Romeo.
For more information on the upcoming bond, look at the “School Election Information” tab on www.romeo.k12.mi.us.