Letter to the Editor

The Logan and Magnolia communities have a beautiful school steeped in tradition. While we, as a community, have well-deserved pride in our school, the 40-year-old school needs updated in order to expand with our enrollment, our curriculum, and our community.

In any industry, business, or medical facility, changes are regularly made to keep up with the latest safety features and innovations. Schools are no less important, and regular changes are needed to update facilities in order to stay relevant.

Just like with any structure, it is often necessary to build new facilities as well as add on to and update our current structure.

On Nov. 5, the Logan-Magnolia Community School District citizens are going to the polls to vote for three vitally important reasons – new city council members, new school board members, and a bond issue.   

The “Vote Yes” Committee is a dedicated group of citizens whose sole aim is to keep the Logan-Magnolia School District relevant in an ever-increasing competitive educational market. Today, more than ever, families are choosing to send their children to schools based on a variety of factors, one of which is a school building that meets the needs of its current and future generations of student learning.

The “Vote Yes” Committee is asking for your vote to renovate, update, and add new facilities to the Logan-Magnolia Community School. After meeting numerous times with school administration, teachers, and school board members to determine the needs of the district, the “Vote Yes” Committee is confident that this bond proposal will place our district in position to ensure we meet the needs of our current students, as well as anticipating the needs of future generations of Panthers.

The Panther Dome is, admittedly, the most controversial of the expenses in the bond issue. What many merely refer to as a gym is, in reality, a multi-use classroom that is the most-utilized facility in our district.

This large classroom space is used continuously from 6 a.m. until late into the night on most school days. It is an educational space where students hone both physical skills and mental prowess.

There is a reason why “gym class” is referred to as Physical Education, with a multitude of educational standards that range from acquisition of physical skills, to health education, to “soft” skills of communication, collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, and grit. Every single student who is enrolled at Logan-Magnolia uses this space.

The Logan-Magnolia school district is quite limited in multi-use classroom space. In an ideal world, the current high school gymnasium would be dedicated space for Physical Education. 

Due to the limited space, however, the classes that help our students learn such valuable skills are often displaced due to other valuable activities, including concerts, career fairs, conferences, art fairs, grandparents day, graduation, elementary recess when it is raining, and other daily scheduling conflicts with core teachers.

To put numerical data on the problem, the high school Physical Education classes lost 18 full days in the 2018-19 school year, which equates to over 10% of the school year. This does not include partial days lost when core teachers utilize the gymnasium space for science experiments and authentic learning in mathematics.

Some may point to the elementary multi-use classroom as a solution; however, the “Vote Yes” Committee would ask you to pause to consider the structural limitations of the elementary facility.

With the lack of seating, a number of the above-mentioned activities are unable to be housed in this space. The name of the space, elementary, is a mis-nomer as well, as the junior high students use the space for physical education, preventing elementary students from full use of their space.  This area, as well, is stolen from elementary Physical Education classes for other secondary activities, including ACT testing, prom, and Science Fair.

The issue of multi-use classroom usage aside, the Panther Dome is the one space that has the potential to create a safe environment in the event of a tornado or straight-line winds. Twenty years ago, an F4 tornado devastated the community surrounding Logan. Our current building would not withstand a similar event. 

The proposed Panther Dome is rated to be able to protect lives from a catastrophic event up to an F5 tornado. This facility will be able to protect the entire Logan-Magnolia community of students, faculty, and staff with minimal advance warning. Some may say that it is a high price to pay for an event that may never happen; however, the price will be infinite if it does.

When families move to Harrison County, many make the choice to live in the Logan-Magnolia school district because we are heralded for “Relentlessly Pursuing Educational Excellence for Every Child, Every Day. As we grow in PRIDE: Purpose, Responsibility, Integrity, Dedication, and Empathy,” we must also consider our physical structure. It is no longer relevant to prepare for the 21st century; we are already in the 21st century.

We must prepare for 2060, when the vision we have today for our school and community has become a reality due to a strong, bold commitment by the citizens of the communities of Logan and Magnolia to provide our future with the facilities that will keep students safe, promote a sound educational environment, and allow each child to achieve his or her dreams, whatever those may be. 

Lo-Ma “Vote Yes” Committee

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