From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 50 - December 11, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

School Board discusses new elementary designs

by Mari Muzzi

Sublette County District #1 board members addressed design concerns for the new elementary school on Monday evening, hoping to get the community’s opinions and ideas for the design of the new school. Only one community member attended the board meeting, however, due to icy road conditions.

“One of the reasons that we are involving everybody is the idea of multiple uses for our school,” SCSD #1 Superintendent Doris Woodbury said.

Bob Binder, the district’s educational specifications consultant, was supposed to have attended the meeting but due to icy conditions his flight could not land in Jackson Hole airport.

“His job is to take the educators’ inputs and capture them in writing, so that we can then give it to the architectural and construction firms,” Woodbury said.

Board member Jim Malkowski questioned the next steps of the project.

“Has [Binder] done this kind of work before and done it well?” he asked. “Is there something that we could actually look at?”

Woodbury said the board would be able to see Binder’s work before it is finished.

“He’s supposed to capture our vision,” she said. “And then take our plans and word them so the architects will understand.”

The board also has the opportunity to look at and approve the designs, said Woodbury.

“We don’t have to take whatever comes out,” she added.

Malkowski said he was concerned about future holdups with the project.

“That’s why I’m really hoping that this gentleman who’s working with the concepts and ideas really knows what he’s doing,” he said.

There was also some concern about time.

“The time frame is getting smaller and smaller,” Malkowski said. “I think about the time when we did an add-on to the middle school, we went through all of this, and a bunch of us sat around these tables and looked at blueprints and when it was all said and done, there was no handicap anything in the locker rooms.”

The plan is to have the new school running by August 2010. However, Malkowski and others worry about hold ups from the School Facilities Commissioners.

“I’m with you Jim, I’m pretty skeptical because of what happened to Lander,” said Vern McAdams, SCSD#1 director of business.

During the last School Facilities Commission meeting, Lander had presented its design plans for its new school and was told it had too much square footage.

Dennis Seipp, construction manager, disagreed with there being any more holdups.

“They approved the project and it is now up to Ken Daraie and his staff to push it through,” he said.

But the commission makes the final vote on where the dollars come from, said Malkowski.

The school board has over $8 million, and that’s enough money to get started on the project, according to Woodbury. Malkowski, however, questioned if those funds were enough.

Members said they realized that there might still be a long road ahead.

“I fully expect that we will have to work with this same perseverance that we have had to demonstrate all the way through the project,” Woodbury said. “And some of it is normal. Everyone has to do this, but I think some of it is just special to Pinedale.”

In additional school board news:

—During the meeting, board members were also pleased to have resident and parent, Dari Qurik’s input, they said. Qurik was the only member from the community to attend the event.

She mentioned her concerns about space for art and music programs. Qurik also addressed the importance of security in the new school.

In one of the building floor plans, people are forced to go through the main office doors during school hours because the secondary doors are locked, said elementary school principal Greg Legerski.

“You see everyone, you see people before they are coming and as they are leaving,” he added.

Qurik also asked about security cameras and if they are being used in the schools.

“Our security cameras that we installed are used frequently, mostly over at the middle school,” Woodbury said. “Kevin uses them to check on behavior kinds of things.”

—All who were present were in favor of the separate pod floor plan, in which each grade has its own wing that can be closed off from the other grades.

—During the meeting, Woodbury said teachers had written down their ideas for what they wanted to see in the new elementary school.

Teachers wanted more available storage space and larger restrooms for the children. They also suggested having a hand washing station outside of the restroom to better supervise younger children.

—The board also plans to have two computer labs available for the children in the new school.

“The stand alone labs, where everything is preloaded and the child can just sit down and get to work, that’s a pretty big benefit for an elementary school,” Woodbury said.

One idea, in addition to a built-in computer lab, is to have computers on carts so that teachers could bring them in if needed.

—Another issue that the board plans to address is having a band program for the fifth graders since they will be coming back to the elementary school.

—The location of the new building is also important, according to Woodbury.

“The building should actually act as a wind break for the playground. So they are thinking about how to place the building on the site,” she said.

—Parent drop–off and pickup was another issue of concern that came up during the meeting

“A lot more work has been done as far as delivering students and picking them up at a safe location,” Woodbury said.

Shannon Ziegler, secretary to the SCSD#1 superintendent, put forth an idea about having a separate pickup and drop–off area for kindergarteners.

“Most of the little guys are still trying to find out which way is home,” Malkowski said. “They need all the help that we can give them.”

—Some of the floor plans call for an abbreviated space and not a full size gymnasium. If they used those plans they would have a small PE space, said Woodbury.

“While it would save us some square footage to do that, I think in the long run it would not be in our best interest,” Woodbury said.

Some reasons for this are that they will have more than one PE class using the gym at once, and if they have a full-size gym, it could be used for practices, tournaments and other recreational activities.

“We could use it for many different things, so it would make sense to have a full size gym. With 600 kids, we’re going to need to space,” she said.

—The board is working on the design plans and will continue to meet with Binder and others to discuss these issues.

“We’re pressing as hard as we can,” McAdams said.

They are now in the process of getting the square footage and costs approved.

“I really think that our biggest concern is the square footage and costs,” Woodbury said.

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