[The Brazil Times nameplate] Overcast ~ 51°F  
High: 64°F ~ Low: 41°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Harmony Happenings

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jackson Street in Harmony is almost repaired. The road repair people have been on it for several days and it is looking good. It may not be as quiet on our street after the repairs but it sure will be more convenient for the folks that like to use Border Street without having to pull out on Highway 40. Thanks to all the workers. I heard that the road to the park was nearing completion but no confirmation on that yet.

Some of the other Roaches and I got together Thursday night at Chaney's Diner and Deli. The special was especially good. Theresa gets a thumbs-up on Krispy Chicken. Most of us don't like restaurant mashed potatoes and gravy so we opted for salad instead. Chaney's are always so nice about allowing substitutions. The beer bread was fresh and tasty, too. Like most places, they serve that Country spread stuff, instead of butter, but the bread was so good that we didn't mind eating it plain. Kate Trout really liked the corn casserole, too. It was just an all round good meal and good company.

We ran into Rosie and Harold Pell. Rosie works at the Clay Health Center and Harold works at the trailer place with his brother. Kurt Hood came in to pick up carry-outs so we sent a hello to Debbie and daughter Elizabeth. Then David and Cheryl Brinson, newly empty nesters, came in for supper. Baby Danielle is off to college this year. We talked until the waitress threatened to make us clean up for close up. It was a good evening and a chance to visit with old friends, too.

Good neighbor Patty Escott is having her son Steve and other good neighbor Rick Hester to do some yard work for her. I was blessed with all the flower starts I could pack away. Patty always has such a beautiful display along her house. If those pretties have to go then moving them across the street sounded good to me. Thanks, Patty.

I have heard several folks talking about the school remodeling projects. From my experience, no matter how much room you add on, it is never enough. Usually by the time the project is finished (often about 3 years), another need crops up.

One school tried to cut costs by building a smaller auditorium/cafeteria. At no time could the entire school see a program. That doesn't seem like such a big problem but every program had to be scheduled twice for most of the next 40 years. Guests that were paid to talk or perform cost twice as much. Choir and band students missed two classes for a performance instead of one. No programs could be scheduled between 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock because of lunch. Scheduling 700+ students was a nightmare to try to cover two periods without missing any kids or have some see the program twice. Some teachers had to cover other teacher's classes, etc.

The same kinds of problems are born when classroom size is cut and the number of rooms cut to save costs. No, a corporation should never build 10 rooms, when 2 will serve the purpose, but will 2 serve the long term needs? One school put incredible money on ballfields, stages, and all the places parents would probably see then cut classroom size. The rooms were fine for all the kids, in their seats in a row, but left no space for special projects. They had no room for a big table and storage shelves. Those special projects are the things that bring excitement to the classroom. Those are the things that the kids remember.

I don't remember reading about trees but I do remember making that big notebook of leaves. I don't remember a single workbook page about nouns and verbs. I do remember when the teacher spread out colored markers for us to diagram our sentences. It was very important to get the nouns and verbs and adjectives just right so it would look pretty.

Schools have to follow a ton of federal, state, and local guidelines. It takes forever just to get to the point of advertising to have the work done. Often what wastes the most money is repeating what has already been done and finding that the first plan was good. Every time you have another architect draw up plans, you have to pay them again.

You can't even put pen to paper without countless meetings with teachers and parents. All of this stuff takes months and years.

I moved to Southern Indiana in 1976. Before I moved, I had been on two committees to help draw up the ideas for what later became Northview. I am not sure when it was finally completed but it certainly cost more than the original plans. Maybe it improved. I don't know. It certainly cost more.

Although I never have seen the inside of Northview, I did tour North Clay when my school was researching school plans. A very nice custodian gave me a tour during the summer break. I took 2 rolls of film and came away very impressed with the building. It seemed as though a great deal of thought had gone into planning the spaces. All the photos went to the next planning meeting at my school.

New things always come up and North Clay probably needs more space for something now. But building an already stripped down version, that will barely cover today's needs, does not make good sense for the elementary buildings. When you have the builders there, get as much of the work done as possible to cover what you really need and try to build for the future.

If you are in doubt about the new elementary remodeling projects, check with the building committees. Usually, a group of parents and teachers draw up a list of needs that goes to the administration that goes to the architects. There are so many state guidelines about square footage per kid, the number of doors per room size, the exit patterns, etc that most of us ordinary people don't understand it all.

Your building committee can usually tell you why every room is in the plan and why it needs to be bigger or smaller or equipped a certain way. Then leave the stuff about which room gets two doors, or where the broom closets go, to the experts. There is another committee of overseers that will nitpick that stuff with them. Generally, the state won't LET you build something it does not think will fit with your community.

My thoughts and feelings are always with what is better for the kids. I don't usually worry about administrative offices but I was really surprised when I returned to the area to find the Central Office still in the old Knightsville School.

I was used to arguing over which teacher would fill the beautiful display cases at the Superintendent's Office where I used to teach. When a meeting was scheduled there, my concern was whether it was in the lower Board Room or the big conference room upstairs. My insurance questions were answered in seconds because of the state of the art computer system.

I may not have always agreed with the administration's viewpoints but they had good taste in office building.

It made a good impression and it was easily accessible. For most meetings, the Board Room could accommodate all the parents and teachers that wanted to attend the School Board meeting.

I can't imagine the technical nightmares of trying to run computer lines in that old building or keeping it heated and repaired and secure. Security is a nightmare for all school corporations. We had cameras everywhere.

I love old buildings but all repairs seem to cost more than on a newer building. Nothing ever seems to fit.

I am not well versed on the school improvement plans here in Clay County and I am certainly no expert in building matters. I do know how long it takes to make a building plan and how many countless volunteer hours the parents and school staffs have had to put in to put it all together. All the professional people have to be paid for their input even if the kids never see a classroom. Tweek it, if you must, but scraping it sounds like financial folly to me.

Happy Birthdays to Suzanne Neier & Johnny Tom Clark (11th), Jim Pell (17th), Allison Pell (24th), and Fritz Maurer (26th).

Don't forget the VB Township Fire Department Fish Fry at Carbon on September 20th.

Harmony United Methodist Calendar:

Sept. 14 -- Worship Service 9 a.m., Sunday School 10:45, Second Sunday Contemporary Service 7 p.m., Fellowship starts at 6:15 p.m.

Sept. 16 -- Bowling Leagues at Brazilian Lanes

Sept. 17 -- Clay County Quilters 9 a.m. -- 3 p.m., Bible Study 9 a.m.