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Editorial: Come see the good your money helped buy

What will $19 million get you? The River Falls School District will demonstrate the answer to that question with a series of open house tours later this month. The tours will be held at the four local public schools that underwent the most extensive renovations after the passage of the $19 million referendum in November 2011.

Renovations have taken place mostly during the past two summers when teachers and students weren’t in classrooms. The work is now finally done.

Here are times and locations for the Monday, Sept. 23, public tours:

--Rocky Branch Elementary, 1415 Bartosh Lane, 5 p.m.

--Westside Elementary, 1007 W. Pine St., 5:45 p.m.

--Greenwood Elementary, 982 E. Division St., 6:30 p.m.

--Meyer Middle School, 230 N. Ninth St., 7:15 p.m.

Building principals will lead these informal walk-throughs, showing and explaining what was replaced and upgraded at each school. Refreshments will be offered.

Superintendent Jamie Benson encourages those interested to come enjoy the tour at any particular school or as many of the renovated schools as they wish to see on Sept. 23.

A fair number of renovations are for mechanical systems, such as ductwork ventilation. You’d have to crawl up into ceilings or through walls for a look.

While these make up part of the backbone of the referendum projects, they aren’t very visual. Others are much more so — Greenwood Elementary, for instance, has a gleaming new entrance and office that faces another direction and resulted in an address change for the school, going from 418 N. Eighth St. to 982 E. Division St.

Aside from parents with school-age children, the quickie tours give district residents a chance to see what their hard-earned taxes have paid for and what the improvements mean for future of public education in River Falls.