HHS students present city improvement projects

Matt Stiles, Anthony Fickes, Lou Thurston, Annlise Jorgenson, Violet Klein, Landry Duerksen. Back: Byron McCartney, Blake Beyes, Brent Driggers, Logan Franz, Sam Sorensen, Savannah Shahan, Zayley Werth, Kevin Colle. HHS students presented community improvement projects to the Hillsboro City Council.

City improvements were the topic of a recent special meeting for the Hillsboro City Council. At the meeting, several Hillsboro High School Senior Government Class students presented community improvement presentations for the council to consider.

“We appreciate the City Council’s time today. We’ve been working on these projects for four months now. They’ve been really big and I’m proud of the work that all these students have done. We are hoping that we can see some positive community change here. It’s my first time working through it as a first-year teacher. It’s been a lot of fun inheriting a lot of the connections that the city already had with the students and with the school,” said teacher Kevin Colle.

The first group, consisting of Landry Duerksen, Zayley Werth and Savannah Shahan, spoke with the council about how unfriendly and unsanitary the park bathrooms are.

Landry Duerksen, Zayley Werth and Savannah Shahan present their community improvement project idea for upgraded park restrooms. They presented their project to the Hillsboro City Council.

“So our idea is not to completely tear down the building but just make some renovations to it to make it more appealing to the visitors that come there. Our first idea is to paint the outside white. It’ll just make it more appealing from the outside,” said Shahan. “We want to add tile to the floors. And then we also want to add a urinal to the men’s side.”

The group suggested other changes as well and included costs that they had researched.

The council members asked questions and gave input.

City Administrator Matt Stiles explained that the city had looked into some of it and felt that painting the concrete with a certain type of epoxy would be better than tiles so that the floors could be power washed.

Mayor Lou Thurston brought up concerns about vandalism that need to be considered by praised the students for their ideas and initiative in considering different options. The city will be looking into the idea further.

The next community proposal came from Annalise Jorgensen and Violet Klein who would like additional parking for the tennis courts out at the sports complex near the aquatic center.

The girls, both tennis players, gave an example of a car tipping over due to parking on an incline in the grass. This event occurred during one of their tennis matches and was distracting to all competing and observing.

“We just don’t want anyone to get hurt or any cars to get damaged or anything like that either,” said Jorgensen. “So our proposition is to add an additional 75 by 180-foot gravel parking lot on the east tennis courts. There’s a big empty lot right before the east tennis courts when you’re driving to them and that is where we want to put our parking lot.”

Annalise Jorgensen and Daisy Klein present their community improvement project idea for more parking out at the tennis courts at the sports complex. They presented their project to the Hillsboro City Council.

Their estimated cost for the project was a little over $6,000 and did not include tax or labor needed to lay the gravel, but it did include the product, the gravel itself, and the delivery of the gravel. The project would benefit both the high school and Tabor as both schools use the tennis courts.

The council discussed the project and Stiles said that they would be able to get about 15 spots in the spot in question. The city will look into the idea further.

The final group, consisting of Anthony Fickes, Logan Frantz and Sam Sorensen, gave a proposal to improve the water fountains at the park.

“So right now the big water fountain with a big line section all that does not work at all, and it’s just filled with a bunch of rusty water and leaves. Just like doesn’t look great. So there’s no water in it and every time it rains it just fills up with more and more rust and you get rust everywhere and it’s starting to expand past just that water fountain,” said Fickes.

The group suggests replacing the old water fountain with a new one that will provide clean filtered water and is reasonably cold as well. It also has a bottle filler.

“It will also provide hydration for anyone who visits the park, and it will contribute to fewer plastic water bottles around the park because people will know that there will be a reliable source of water for them to drink. This fountain will also provide clean drinking water to the public and is very weather resistant because it’s made with corrosion-resistant stainless steel so it can withstand all the weather elements,” said Fickes.

The fountain the group proposed has three different parts to it with different heights so that it is accessible to various ages as well as ADA compliant. The cost of the water fountain is around $6,000 and the installation fee would be around $2,000 for a total cost of around $8,000.

The council asked questions and discussed the project with the group. They will look into the project further.

Thurston praised the groups for their work on the projects.

“You know, the three main things that that that any presentation like this needs is you have to identify the problem. You have to come up with a proposal, a solution or proposed solution. And then one of the things that in the past it’s been missing is understanding the cost of the project,” said Thurston. “And I want to congratulate all of you guys because you’ve all very well defined the problem. In each case, you’ve come up with a proposed solution. And with some investigation done on the cost side, I think they’re well within the target of what you propose. I want to congratulate you all you’ve done a great job. Thank you very much.”


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