In what ways does Utica need to be upgraded?

Although most of us cannot vote yet, a majority would say ‘yes” on May 2.

Illustration by Zoey Lawrence

Illustration by Zoey Lawrence

Abby Williams, Editor in Chief

Citizens will be voting on whether to pass the 2023 UCS Safety and Success bond proposal on May 2. If we were registered voters, most of our staff would vote in favor of the bond.

The bond proposal, consisting of two parts, would add numerous new features to schools in the Utica Community Schools district, including Utica High. The future plans are broken up into five categories: safety and security, site improvements, remodeling, furniture and equipment, and instructional technology.

One reason a majority of our staff supports the bond proposal is because of safety and security. New features, such as shatterproof glass and upgraded security systems, will benefit school security Safety at school is extremely important, especially in recent times. Supporters of the proposal believe this is a major reason as to why the bond should be approved.

Utica is the oldest high school in the district, and some of our staff believes it’s desperately in need of renovations. The bond proposal would renovate science labs and art rooms, improve plumbing and HVAC systems, upgrade the power system, and replace some of the roofing. Improvements would also be made to Swinehart Stadium, such as improving the press box and bleachers. Some of us think improvements like this are both vital and long overdue, and will greatly benefit students in the future.

Utica is extremely unpredictable when it comes to the temperatures inside the classrooms. One classroom could be insanely hot, while another could be freezing cold. These conditions are beyond irritating and are difficult to learn in, so upgrades to the HVAC systems would be a major improvement.

Redesigning the parking lot is also a huge reason as to why most of our staff would vote in favor of the proposal. A lot of our staff drives to and from school and are almost entirely in agreement that the parking lot is a mess and definitely needs to be redesigned. The bond proposal plans on replacing the paving and entirely redoing the parking lot’s layout, as well as potentially improve lighting and security. Most of our staff wholeheartedly supports this decision, as they believe prac- tically no one is a fan of the parking lot’s current setup.

A small portion of our staff, however, would not vote to pass the bond proposal. They argue that while it’s nice to get new things for our school, they believe not everything we’d be getting money for is a necessity, and the proposal should have focused on improving other aspects of Utica. They suggest that money should be going toward supplies, for example, rather than making teachers buy their own. Some staff members mentioned that the art program could use some funding, as supplies rely on donations or making the teachers buy them.

All of our staff agrees that Utica needs to be upgraded in some sort of way. Technology and expectations for how schools should be are rapidly changing, and features that were considered “state of the art” years ago are now very outdated. Despite all being in agreement that Utica needs to be improved, we have conflicting views on what those changes should focus on, ranging from a better parking lot to more supplies for teachers.