Meridian Library District pushes for bond approval

Meridian Library District pushes for bond.

The state's largest school district is partnering with four different organizations to bring a unique project to one of the district's newest schools.

The plan is to make Hillsdale Elementary School a joint-use facility with a YMCA and a library attached. The idea is new to Idaho and hasn't come without some questions from concerned parents regarding safety.

Hillsdale Elementary School could look a lot different over the next couple of years with the help of a library bond.

"What we see as an opportunity is the promise and the ability to do something that doesn't exist in Idaho yet," said Gretchen Caserotti with the Meridian Library District.

It's a $12 million bond that will fund the building of two new public libraries in Meridian, one which will be attached to the school.

"My greatest concern was the security and how they would keep the general public away from our children," said Jill Lance, a parent of a third-grader at Hillsdale.

That's a concern that Caserotti says is at the front of everyone's minds. 

"What we found was that through good design you can build in the security measures you need," said Caserotti.

New floor plans show that there will be separate entrances for the school, library, and the YMCA.

"We're looking at a single point of entrance that would have a double-locked entrance where the student would come through with their teachers, who would have access with a locked key fob for example," said Caserotti.

What about supervision once they leave the children's section and go to the main library on their class visit? Caserotti says students will always be supervised.  

"We envision not only the school librarian who will be with them on their visit, but there are also additional staff," said Caserotti.

She also says she envisions the students will have lanyards or colored vests that will indicate to staff members that they are a part of a class. That way, if they somehow are in the wrong section of the library, they will be easily identified. 

Before students can even get to the main library, however, there are three double-locked entrances.

"Patrons from the branch library would not have any access at all through a double-locked door," said Caserotti.

While construction on the project hasn't started, but the school district has built what will serve as a link to the library.

For now, it's an unfinished 2,500-square-foot shell that the West Ada School District funded and will sell to the library district if the bond passes. 

When it comes to how this project will benefit the students, district officials say the possibilities are endless.

"You're going to end up with a much more extensive collection than you would typically find in our libraries," said Eric Exline with the Ada County School District.

The 2,500-square-foot space at the school will be converted into two classrooms if the bond fails. Caserotti says if that happens, the library district will go back to square one, take a look at their master facility plan and figure out where to go from there.

When it comes to tax rates if the bond passes, the Meridian Library District says the cost would be $11.05 per $100,000 in assessed property value over the next 20 years. That tax amount is actually lower than last year's bond proposal because of Meridian's rapid growth.

If you'd like more information about the bond, click here.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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