Knock 'em down
Sometimes, it's more cost effective to raze a school and rebuild it than try to maintain and renovate it. That appears to be the case for two Pasco County elementary schools - Sanders in Land O'Lakes and Richey in New Port Richey.
Engineers from the state Department of Education have evaluated the campuses, which are respectively 64 and 50 years old, and found that many of the buildings at each school need replacement. Pasco officials had asked for the reviews as part of their efforts to improve the district's aging schools. They were trying to decide whether to launch a major overhaul or to just start from scratch.
"We can still educate students" in the schools, assistant superintendent Ray Gadd said. "But what we're saying is, if we don't rebuild we're going to just keep putting money into it ... and throwing away money over time."
Work could begin on Sanders, which could see more than half its structures replaced, as soon as summer 2009. State reviewers have not determined the extent of the demolition they will approve at Richey yet, so that project isn't on a calendar.
Board member Marge Whaley said she wasn't surprised that the state had approved knocking down parts of the two schools. "Sanders is our school in the county that is in the worst shape," said Whaley, whose own children attended the school. "Richey is not as bad as Sanders, but it's bad."