EDITORIAL: Out with the old, in with the new

Want versus need. It always seems to be those two words. During CMR’s 50th year, those words have come across quite a number of times.
Infrastructure concerns have taken center stage, and the district is holding community meetings at Longfellow, Roosevelt, and Great Falls High, to help decide the future of the district’s school buildings.
CMR, built in 1964, has been considered the “new school” and put off to the side like anything else new. No one assumes that one of the youngest buildings in the district would need fixes, but there’s more than meets the eye in this case.
After 50 years of running heaters, sinks and toilets, slamming doors open and shut, CMR is finally starting to show its age. Out of the three boilers, for a short period of time only one worked; now the other two are running as they should. A $50,000 project to fix the plumbing has been in progress since the pipe broke out by the jock lot. Also by the jock lot, the stairwell that leads to the gym breezeway looks as it should. But go down the stairs and take a look underneath at the expanding crack beneath the surface and you’ll be surprised by what you see.
In October, the crack was patched and good to go. Now, five months later, the crack is once again visible and still growing. Who knows how big it’ll be in eight or 10 months. It’s now considered a safety hazard, according to Principal Dick Kloppel.
Winter can be chilly because the heating system needs new valves. Each valve is $7,000. Not just one needs to be replaced; but quite a few. The total cost to fix the heaters would be more than $14,000.
Along with those issues, Kloppel pointed out problems with the shifting concrete in the foundation, the water heater and the track by Jack Johnson Pride Field. It needs to be leveled with the football field to help prevent injuries. The roofs of the Auto Tech building, Bill Will, and the main building all have leaks that can’t be found.
We believe the district needs to take care of our school and think about what’s beyond what people can see. And we’re pleased to see Superintendent Tammy Lacey leading an in-depth discussion of the infrastructure issuesfacing the district.
Students say we need better vending machine food, or more TV’s in the Commons, or more green and gold throughout the school. Count how many cracks you find in the floor whether it be inside or outside. We encourage community members to get involved as the district works to maintain our buildings.
Look at the cracks in the walls, the broken plastic barriers outside the windows, and feel how uneven the floor is in both breezeways. Just because you can’t physically see the damage doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
Yes it would be nice to have more televisions and better food. Just know that those concrete pillars that you most likely thought were decoration go more than 60 feet underground down to bedrock.
CMR is not close to falling apart any time soon. But there are little details that over time have progressively worsened and need to be fixed before more damage happens in the coming years.