The USD 415 School Board voted Monday evening to hire Educational Consulting Services to put together a long term facilities plan for the district, which put to rest for the time being the ongoing discussion of whether or not to move part of the high school’s shop into the wrestling room.

The move was slated to be an expensive one and came with several variables, though it would have expanded the total space available, but with a plan set to emerge over the next year, both the board and instructor Darren Arment agreed that waiting to hear a proposal from ECS was the most prudent option.

Jerry McCall of ECS gave a presentation of his company’s services earlier in the evening. ECS dives deep into analytical data from the school and community, focusing on population trends, information from community leaders, and demographic statistics to create a multilevel recommendation that covers facility use efficiency, district needs, collaboration with outside parties (both private sector and educational) and overall strategic planning. McCall noted that in briefly looking into the district and its surrounding area, continuing to grow the school’s relationship with Highland Community College will be an area that ECS will explore, as nearly 50 percent of juniors and seniors could fit into various vocational programs that can serve as a pipeline for workplace reinforcement within the community, which will help stabilize the city’s population.

The Board has been expressed concern over recent months that many of its decisions have felt reactionary, and have repeatedly used the term “throwing good money after bad,” voicing a desire to put together a long term plan that will hopefully prevent bad decisions by offering a wider scope view of the district. The contract with ECS is set for up to $20,000, and board members agreed that the money is well worth avoiding a $100,000 mistake down the line.

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