THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Marshall Lund's Letter to the Editor
Issue Date: May 26, 2022
Letter to Editor:
On May 11, 2022 I attended the Peshtigo School Board meeting to witness the results of the survey that was sent to all voters of the Peshtigo School District. Interesting survey ?? Mainly it had only two choices to comment on.#1 = A new school building with a cost of 47.5 million dollars of which only 45 million dollars may be burrowed for the project.#2 = The same program as was on the "DEFEATED" last referendum with a new Cost of 38.6 million dollars. 35 million plus 12 million bank expense was the Price tag for the 2021 Referendum.Results of this survey came from 23% of the mailings that were sent out. That means for every 100 voters, 23 persons gave their input to the survey. Problem is that only 1 survey was sent to a given address. That means a 2 person household has only 1 vote in this survey. It also, sort of, implies that 77 out of 100 voters don't support either #1 or #2 choice on the survey. This "Professionally Administrated Survey" has been skewed in ways that don't make sense, and this is what the School Board is going to base decisions on.My real problem with the Peshtigo School Board and the Superintendent came after the School Board meeting. As you may know, for the last 4 years or so, I have been trying to have concrete domes considered for the school building dilemma. I had been told that Peshtigo Superintendent Pat Rau had taken a tour of the Johnson Creek High School Dome Complex that has been operating for some 4 years now. He did the tour with himself and Performance Services Inc. "PSI", the engineering firm that has been involved with every move that has happened with the Peshtigo School Board for the last 2 or so years. I asked Mr. Rau what his impressions of the concrete dome complex were. He told me that it made sense for Johnson Creek, but not for Peshtigo. He explained that Peshtigo has more students than Johnson Creek and does not have enough useable land in the swamp behind the Elementary School to support a concrete dome complex for Peshtigo's needs. At that point I was ready to give up trying to steer any alternative ideas on Peshtigo's Building dilemma. You win School Board, I quite, BUT, Mr. Rau continued to say one more thing that confused me to no end. He told me that currently the cost to build concrete domes has gone up so much in price that now they exceed the cost of conventional buildings!!!I could not believe what Mr. Rau had just told me. The next day I went on the phone and called Monolithic Dome Constructors and South Industries. Both of these companies are instrumental with building the "Big Domes." They told me that the cost of building materials has skyrocketed, but so has it for all types of building construction! In other words, you still can build a comparable dome complex for 20% less than a conventional building. That means if you use The Survey's own cost numbers you come up with the following:New School Building = 47.5 million dollars subtract 9.5 million which is 20%;New Dome Complex = 38 million dollars;Add on an appropriate tract of land and the cost of a new Peshtigo High School stays well below the barrowing capacity of the Peshtigo School District!!!So why would Superintendent Pat Rau tell me something that is Not True? He has never given me any reason to suspect dishonesty or inappropriate actions in any way. I have always sensed Pat Rau to be genuine and truthful in my conversations with him. I believe that "PSI" is where the problem lies. I believe that "PSI" quoted the price tag of a concrete dome high school for Peshtigo SO HIGH that it would never be considered as a possible answer to the building dilemma? Concrete domes are not allowed to fit into "PSI's" concept or recipe for the Peshtigo School Dist. Why; I think that "PSI" lacks the experience and knowledge of these buildings and their fore not enough profit margin to endorse them. I also suspect that "PSI" understands that because these concrete domes have no load supporting walls within the structure, they will not be getting repeat business in 20 ?? 30 years which is the normal for conventional buildings all over any area, just look at any of our neighbors and the millions of dollars more they have to invest in that conventional building interval.Now consider the inflation era that we all are in right now. In case you haven't heard, we all are in a Major Financial Depression right now!!! But lets go back to referendum 2021. That's when it was going to cost 35 million to rebuild the old school, or build a new one with 42 million dollars. As a comparison United Health Care Insurance of Green Bay builds a 4 story corporate headquarters on 23 acres of GB land and parking for 1000 cars at a cost of 36 million dollars. How about Wisconsin Public Service Corp. in Green Bay sells it's corp. headquarters built on 16 acres of waterfront property with room for 1000 cars to park at a cost of 13.5 million dollars. Why does the Peshtigo school tax payer have to Take It In The Shorts when it comes to a "PSI" building project???I have also been told that construction companies do not want to come to Peshtigo because they can make more money and quicker in places like Green Bay. If that is true to any degree then there is even more reason to build a dome complex for Peshtigo's building needs. South Industries resides in Utah and goes wherever in the world they need to as they build the Big DomesThe Peshtigo School Board needs to consider other engineering firms so they can get some sort of competition for its building project. Johnson Creek used "TSP" out of Minnesota for their Dome Complex. "TSP" has a huge amount of buildings that they have done including conventional and unconventional and concrete domes. Maybe Peshtigo could even consider a hybrid school complex between conventional and large dome construction. In short Peshtigo School Board ?? due diligence and fiduciary duty and applied imagination have not been applied to the Peshtigo School Building project.Any way you look at the situation "PSI" does not seem to have the best interest in mind for the Peshtigo Tax Payer. "PSI" does seem to have it's own best interest for it's self for owning it's "Peshtigo Cash Cow". I know that "PSI" has not charged anything to the Peshtigo School Dist. so far for the work that they have done for the past 2 years or so. That alone should scare any school tax payer that is paying attention to the situation. If you don't think that "PSI" is planning for a big payoff, "Wake up" because they are!!! For the last 4 years I have been trying to talk to someone on the Peshtigo School Board so I can make sense of its building decisions or that I might interject my own thoughts and ideas. I have been ignored all the time. I even got word that some board member had gone to Johnson Creek just as they were starting with their new dome complex. Wouldn't you think that person would give me a little time to discuss the subject, but no, it is not going to happen.You members of the Peshtigo School Board are elected from the population via an election process. It seems that some communication between the voters and yourselves should be pursued, maybe not all the time but certainly some of it. It seems that you become a part of your own little Click and that's it!!! Voters ?? like it or not that is the way it is. I guess you think that the general public does not know enough to be part of the process.Because of the political climate that is seen today all over our country concerning our School Boards , YOU, our board members might consider looking to the public you are supposed to be representing a lot more!