Liberty tour details building’s problems

Liberty Elementary teacher Cheryl Bertagni is worried about her students getting their fingers caught in the closet doors of her classroom. - Kirk Boxleitner
Liberty Elementary teacher Cheryl Bertagni is worried about her students getting their fingers caught in the closet doors of her classroom.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The faculty of Liberty Elementary joined Marysville School District officials in making their case to replace, rather than renovate, their current school building, during an Oct. 19 tour of the facilities.

MSD Capital Projects Director John Bingham shared tour-guide duties with Liberty Elementary Principal Scott Irwin and teachers Karen Wright, Cheryl Bertagni and Corina Hansen, all of whom pointed out the problems in the existing 58-year-old building, including its outdated original mechanical and electrical systems, its non-current fire exiting codes and nonexistent fire sprinkler system, and its assortment of structural deficiencies.

Wright noted that the heater motor has “smoked up the room” and flooded it with water on a number of separate occasions, once forcing her to move her students to five different classrooms in a single day, which she described as quite the adventure.

Bertagni pointed out that her room has no covered storage spaces, except for closets with centered and top-mounted door hinges that she considers too dangerous for her students, fearing they’ll get their fingers stuck in the doorjambs.

Wright showed how, for another set of classrooms, the light switches are all down the hall.

“We’ve adapted,” Irwin laughed.

“You shouldn’t have to, though,” said MSD Board member Don Hatch Jr., who was joined by fellow Board members Cindy Erickson and Sherri Crenshaw on the tour.

Bertagni echoed Bingham’s assessment of the building’s energy inefficiency by adding that the fuse in the teacher’s lounge blows at least once a day, since the microwave and the coffeepot can’t run at the same time. Bingham likewise cited the electrical system’s inability to charge multiple student laptops during the school’s hours of operation.

Hansen has only one wall-mounted electrical outlet in her room, located right next to the sink, which affects where she can place her students’ computers. Like Bertagni, Hansen’s sink has also flooded the floor of her room, but Hansen also had a window fall out of its mounting when she opened it.

Bingham estimated that the cost of renovating the existing building would be 91 percent of the cost to replace it with an entirely new building.

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