Conditions and repairs needed at Franklin Park Elementary

Reporter: Annette Montgomery Writer: Paul Dolan

Just a few of the complaints about portable buildings kids are learning in until their new school is built include dirty carpets and doors that won’t close.

A spokesman from the Lee County School District told WINK News the temporary campus is safe, noting it received a certificate of occupation.

However, the district would not let WINK News on campus to see for ourselves, but the onsite construction manager did talk with us. He said that his crew is still doing what he called “a few tweaks.” But one neighbor told WINK News people already call this campus a little prison.

Repairs getting made. CREDIT: WINK News

John Tobler, the president and co-owner of Tobler Construction, spoke with WINK News about the project.

“Everybody knew this when they signed up for this,” Tobler said.

Tobler is in charge of the work being done at Franklin Park Elementary. Over the Christmas holiday, the district closed the existing school and created a portable campus on Marsh Avenue.

A new school will be built, but in the meantime, some people worry the portable campus isn’t safe.

“In what conditions do these children have to learn while we wait for the other new facility,” Gerri Ware, a former school board candidate, asked.

Ware told WINK News the hand-me-down trailers remind her of hand-me-down books. Something she only tends to see in communities with children who look like her.

“I just want to see the district continue to try to make things better in our community, that’s all,” Ware said.

Tobler wonders whether Ware is playing politics. She ran for school board and lost to incumbent Debbie Jordan, who represents the neighborhoods surrounding Franklin Park Elementary.

“Please don’t allow politics to get in the way of helping our students. That’s who we’re hurting with this type of propaganda. Because what Ms.Ware is saying is totally false,” Tobler said.

Tobler told WINK News, despite the fact there is still work behind on campus, the site is safe.

“Touch-up painting, some adjustment on some doors because they need to close without having to push it, just things like that. And even cleaning some of the carpets that that’s a little dirty because, of course, we were working in and out of them,” Tobler said.

The district told WINK News the new Franklin Park Elementary School will open in August 2024.

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