By KIRBY ROSS
Phillips County Review
LOGAN — It wasn’t quite standing room only, but it was pretty close to it.
A large portion of the population of the city of Logan and the Logan USD 326 School District turned out en masse to a town hall meeting at the high school last Thursday.
The purpose of that meeting? To hear about, and to voice their opinions on, the ambitious $14 million plan to invest in solutions to multiple community infrastructure problems.
Those problems include aging buildings housing elders in the local nursing home and elementary school students.
Regarding solutions, the City of Logan, the Logan School District, Logan Manor Nursing Home and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation are currently considering a unique conceptual idea that would integrate several intergenerational community facilities into one structure.
The basic elements of this facility would include
- A new 36-bed nursing home based on the modern “Green House Project” design
- A new pre-k through fourth grade elementary school
- A new 1,200-seat gymnasium with associated locker room complex, which would also serve as a community storm shelter holding up to 450 people
- A weight room and wellness facility which would be open and available to the public
- A community room and gathering place, and a small theater room holding up to 50 patrons
The new ‘Intergenerational Center’ would be north of the existing high school building and would be connected to it via a climate-controlled indoor corridor.
All elements of the facility would be interconnected, allowing residents from the nursing home to visit and participate in the pre-school through fourth grade classrooms, attend ballgames and practices, etc.
Imagine elders walking down to see a basketball game, or being wheeled to it, and never leaving the structure they are living in.
The current plan also includes upgrades to the existing high school cafeteria so the school and nursing home could share food preparation and dietary staff.
The budget for this project also contemplates resurfacing and improving the existing parking lot located on the west side of the school, and adding additional parking adjacent to the football field.
One of the primary purposes of last Thursday’s town hall was to gauge public support for the plan, and to enlist public assistance in pursuing the financing for it should a consensus be reached to pursue it.
The Hansen Foundation has committed to paying for half of the cost. No taxpayer money would be utilized in covering the other half—it would all be raised through other statewide and national charitable foundations, as well as from alumni and other individuals wanting to assist.
With the meeting getting underway around 6:30 p.m., it lasted for close to two and a half hours and included an introduction and presentation from Brien Stockman, who is a trustee of the Hansen Foundation.
Stockman was followed by presentations from representatives of the school board, the school principal, the nursing home administrator, the project architect, and the general contractor who has teamed up with the architect.
After the presentations, the floor was opened to questions and comments.
At the beginning of it all, a show of hands was asked for from the people who were leaning towards proceeding based upon what they had already heard or read.
A show of hands was also requested from those who were inclined to oppose the project based upon what they had already heard or read.
Those supporting the project were clearly in the majority, but there were a number of holdouts.
At the conclusion of the meeting Stockman asked whether those in attendance had come to some sort of consensus. “Who thinks they can support this?” he asked. Hands were raised as they had before—but then the supporters started standing up and clapping and within a very short time the entire room was standing and loudly vocally cheering the plan.
This reporter saw just one person in opposition at the end—just one—and saw a number of people who had raised their hands in opposition at the beginning of the evening joining in with the cheering supporters at that end.