By Neo H. Morake
On April 8, ANC6D’s elected officials approved a letter drafted by Commissioner Anthony Dale seeking to identify capital funding to address three outstanding service requests placed by Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, the oldest having been placed in July 2014. After learning of the issues plaguing my alma mater, I reached out to Amidon-Bowen’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and was invited on a community walkthrough to investigate further.
The first outstanding request was placed to the Department of General Services (DGS) in May 2018. This request focuses on a sinking playground surface. There are deep dips in the surface, which have resulted in at least one injury to a student. During the school day, this playground is primarily utilized by younger children. However, the playground is also a gathering spot for many families outside of school hours. Further review of the playground surface showed exposed concrete edges of a metal drain area nearby the children’s jungle gym.
The second outstanding request centers on the flooring in Amidon-Bowen’s multi-purpose room. The room, while used to hold school assemblies, also functions as the school’s cafeteria. The original work order was placed in October 2016 calling for repairs of the floor that was buckling in multiple areas. Currently, large black mats are used to cover the rippling floor, especially near the entryway. There are several areas where the floor is visibly held together by duct tape. A second work order regarding the floor was placed in November 2018 repeating the plea for a resolution to the trip and fall hazards for staff, students and visitors.
The oldest work order was placed in July 2014. It concerns the need for the school’s wooden gymnasium floors to be sand blasted, repainting of a heavily utilized basketball court, and for the school’s new mascot to be painted in the center court. The current mascot on the floor is from 1960.
After the community walk-through of the Amidon-Bowen campus, Pastor Monica Raines of Christ United Methodist Church voiced her concerns regarding the critical safety concerns.
“[There] are some definite needs and repairs here in the school and with particular attention to the multi-purpose room, the gymnasium and the outside playgrounds. We should not have five-year outstanding work orders. We see a disservice done here to our school and our students. And it is my hope and prayer that we resolve this soon and very soon. We need to put our children first.”
Allison Harvey, co-President of the Amidon-Bowen PTA, echoed Pastor Raines’ concerns of not putting children first and stated, “it is our hope that with the letter and pressure from ANC6D and with support from Councilmember Allen we will see funds allocated this budget cycle to make these critical and long overdue repairs.”
Councilmember Allen pledged to continue working to resolve these issues. “I’ve been working closely with the new Director of the Department of General Services to address the backlog of repairs at Amidon. Principal Sykes and I have been pushing for these repairs for close to two years,” says Allen. “If we have to fund it through the budget with dedicated dollars to ensure the work finally gets done, I’ll make sure that happens.”