From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 32 - November 1, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

New Elementary School Options Introduced To Community

by Tiffany Turner

With much talk around town about the proposed new elementary school for Sublette County School District No. 1 (SCSD#1), a meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss the options and ideas being looked at by the school board and faculty.

Business Manager Vern McAdams, Supt. Doris Woodbury, Pinedale Elementary School (PES) Principal Greg Legerski and Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Hayward all spoke and were available to answer questions of interested community members and parents that came to the informational meeting.

With no location set in stone and a proposed completion date set for the spring of 2009, SCSD#1 faculty and the board are making quick work of their informative studies and option searches. Staff members and parent representatives have already traveled to Salt Lake City to visit schools with floor plans similar to ones the district has been considering. A slide show presentation of their trip was presented during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The layout the district is looking into is on the more cutting-edge of elementary school designs. It is created with separate hall ways for every grade level, with each housing its own collaboration table and being in contact with direct sunlight throughout the year.

According to the faculty in attendance, they were trying very hard to stay away from the “egg crate” design, basically one long hall with rooms off the side.

“We are very happy with the school we have now, but with the statistics and projections we have, we need to be prepared,” Woodbury said. This preparation comes in the form of the new school the district is leaning towards filling with roughly 350 kindergarten through second grade (K-2) students. This will split the schools into K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and high school (9-12). According to Woodbury, the K-2 at the new premises comes both from a continuity standpoint that children stay at the in-town campus once they have started there and also in answer to studies that have found students working at their level by the third grade are much more likely to stay at-level throughout their schooling.

“The idea of building a new school is just great,” Legerski said. “You don’t get to build one very often and it’s just such a unique opportunity.”

Part of the reason for the K-2 split is the hopes of most of the district to keep Pinedale a one-school town.

“We don’t want to pit kids against each other or bus them apart,” Legerski said. “This is an intervention/enrichment time.” This intervention/enrichment period is what led Legerski to push for the community area for the grade levels. This would allow for collaborative instruction of students whether it be furthering students that understand the material or helping students having trouble with some aspects of lessons.

“And these groups could change weekly...just‘reshuffle the cards,’” he said. “We need the space to provide that kind of instruction.”

Hayward, during her presentation, said she and the other teachers visiting the functioning school in Salt Lake City found three very important dynamics of the buildings, these being climate, collaboration and space.

She said it had a warm and welcoming feeling that everyone felt upon entering, the collaboration space was great since meeting areas in the current facility were limited due to the increased enrollment and her third item, space. Hayward stated that she liked the movable space provided in the buildings that would allow for both small and large functions depending on the need at the moment (rolling wall and shelving helped with this). According to McAdams, the district is also hoping to create a large central kitchen at the new facility that will do most of the cooking (even for the current campus) because a centralized service would save money. “It keeps the prices down and helps us keep from supplementing (the foodf unds) from our general funds,” he said.

Currently a 60,000-square-foot school is being considered, and the final design plan will help to decide which of the four possible locations will be chosen. “How we lay it on there will make a difference,” McAdams said. “There may be some constraints.”

“We’re trying to make sure we keep all of these possibilities in mind as we make decisions,” he added.

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