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What To Do With West Elementary

By Staff | Jun 26, 2012

For the past few years, faculty and staff at West Elementary School have had to be creative in their use of space at the facility. A lack of storage space in the building, along with needs for more space for specialized programs for students continues to create a need for more room in the Emmetsburg School District’s oldest facility. The topic was discussed during June 20 meeting of the Emmetsburg School Board.

West Elementary Principal Joe Carter started the discussion with a facility option report to the board members. “We’ve talked about West many times over the years, and the basic problem we have is a lack of classroom space, storage space and space in our kitchen and lunchroom.”

Carter then presented some options for conversions to the facility that would address the various problems.

“First, we would convert the current library into two classrooms, which is what it originally was,” Carter explained. “We have 65 first graders coming in and we always have the probability of having a third section of third or fourth grade, and by having two more classrooms available, we would be effectively prepared.”

“Secondly, we would propose to convert two-thirds of the current gym at West into the library, and then use the remaining third of the gym for smaller instructional rooms that would be used by our Title One/Reading Recovery, our At Risk Intervention and our TAG/Extended Learning programs,” Carter continued. “Currently, these three programs have no assigned rooms and they meet where ever space is open, sometimes in a hallway, just where ever we can find a spot.”

Carter also proposed converting the current kitchen facilities into storage space, noting that previous estimates to remodel the kitchen were estimated at over $200,000. “This has been an issue for a long time,” Carter said.

A final proposal called for converting the current office area into conference and guidance space. “Right now, we have no place for staffings or meetings and we need a place with privacy for those types of functions,” Carter noted.

To go along with the conversion options, Carter presented some options for possible new construction. “First off, we would look at the construction of a new gym, much like the new middle school gym, on the south end of our facility,” Carter noted. “This would be a great asset not only to West, but for the district as a whole. Right now, you put 45 kids in our current gym and there isn’t a lot of room to move around. A gym like we have at the new middle school could also be used by our upper level sports and would be a great benefit to the entire district.”

To go along with the gym, Carter proposed the construction of a new kitchen and food service area, also on the south end of the current building, along with a new central entrance to West, which would feature a pickup and drop off area for students centralized in one spot, rather than three locations currently in use. Finally, a new office and commons area would complete the construction to the south.

“These are just options that were developed after looking at the concerns that we have,” Carter said. “The next step is we have to decide what do we want to do.”

Information Carter provided to the board indicated that after South Elementary was closed in 2003, the addition of three classrooms was made at West Elementary. At that time, it was estimated that West was set up to serve 300 students, or 60 students or less per section. The closing of South added three Kindergarten sections plus Early Childhood Special Education students to the West population. An additional 60 students through other new programs have been added to the West population since 2003.

“My eyes were really opened when I went down there the other day and walked around with Joe,” noted board member Scott Kibbie. “There are some real needs to be addressed.”

“We found some old plans dating back to 2000 that featured the gym,” Carter told the board, “so that is not new. The new part comes from the need for space for our TAG, Title One/Reading Recovery and At-Risk programs.”

According to Carter, between 80 and 90 students are involved in one or more of the three programs each day.

“When did we last have any kind of bids on construction?” asked board member Karla Anderson.

“We spent $800,000 to build the three classrooms on the east side of the building back in 2003,” answered Superintendent John Joynt.

“I don’t want to say that it’s all or nothing on these options, but it is,” observed board member Tammy Naig.

“We have talked about replacing the gym before,” agreed Anderson.

“I would have to agree with Joe on the traffic concern he raised,” noted board member Rick Brennan. “A new central point would be much safer. It can get a little crazy up there at times.”

As the discussion continued, Joynt agreed the district’s Facilities Committee should begin talking about the options and looking into them, bringing the discussion to a close.

In other business, the board approved the hiring of Brian Malm as a regular route bus driver, and were informed by Joynt that there would be a reduction of one bus route for the coming year, as new transportation director Dallas Naig would take over the town route, eliminating town stops from the other routes.

The board also approved the hiring of Jeremy Zeigler as a fourth grade instructor along with middle school wrestling coach. Zeigler comes to Emmetsburg after three years at Estherville Lincoln Central as a first grade instructor and in Omaha prior to that.

“We had about 25 to 30 applicants and had advertised locally and statewide,” reported Carter. “After an initial group of six, we interviewed three and Jeremy is very experienced in the Iowa Core and helped develop ELC’s programs.”

What To Do With West Elementary

By Staff | Jun 26, 2012

For the past few years, faculty and staff at West Elementary School have had to be creative in their use of space at the facility. A lack of storage space in the building, along with needs for more space for specialized programs for students continues to create a need for more room in the Emmetsburg School District’s oldest facility. The topic was discussed during June 20 meeting of the Emmetsburg School Board.

West Elementary Principal Joe Carter started the discussion with a facility option report to the board members. “We’ve talked about West many times over the years, and the basic problem we have is a lack of classroom space, storage space and space in our kitchen and lunchroom.”

Carter then presented some options for conversions to the facility that would address the various problems.

“First, we would convert the current library into two classrooms, which is what it originally was,” Carter explained. “We have 65 first graders coming in and we always have the probability of having a third section of third or fourth grade, and by having two more classrooms available, we would be effectively prepared.”

“Secondly, we would propose to convert two-thirds of the current gym at West into the library, and then use the remaining third of the gym for smaller instructional rooms that would be used by our Title One/Reading Recovery, our At Risk Intervention and our TAG/Extended Learning programs,” Carter continued. “Currently, these three programs have no assigned rooms and they meet where ever space is open, sometimes in a hallway, just where ever we can find a spot.”

Carter also proposed converting the current kitchen facilities into storage space, noting that previous estimates to remodel the kitchen were estimated at over $200,000. “This has been an issue for a long time,” Carter said.

A final proposal called for converting the current office area into conference and guidance space. “Right now, we have no place for staffings or meetings and we need a place with privacy for those types of functions,” Carter noted.

To go along with the conversion options, Carter presented some options for possible new construction. “First off, we would look at the construction of a new gym, much like the new middle school gym, on the south end of our facility,” Carter noted. “This would be a great asset not only to West, but for the district as a whole. Right now, you put 45 kids in our current gym and there isn’t a lot of room to move around. A gym like we have at the new middle school could also be used by our upper level sports and would be a great benefit to the entire district.”

To go along with the gym, Carter proposed the construction of a new kitchen and food service area, also on the south end of the current building, along with a new central entrance to West, which would feature a pickup and drop off area for students centralized in one spot, rather than three locations currently in use. Finally, a new office and commons area would complete the construction to the south.

“These are just options that were developed after looking at the concerns that we have,” Carter said. “The next step is we have to decide what do we want to do.”

Information Carter provided to the board indicated that after South Elementary was closed in 2003, the addition of three classrooms was made at West Elementary. At that time, it was estimated that West was set up to serve 300 students, or 60 students or less per section. The closing of South added three Kindergarten sections plus Early Childhood Special Education students to the West population. An additional 60 students through other new programs have been added to the West population since 2003.

“My eyes were really opened when I went down there the other day and walked around with Joe,” noted board member Scott Kibbie. “There are some real needs to be addressed.”

“We found some old plans dating back to 2000 that featured the gym,” Carter told the board, “so that is not new. The new part comes from the need for space for our TAG, Title One/Reading Recovery and At-Risk programs.”

According to Carter, between 80 and 90 students are involved in one or more of the three programs each day.

“When did we last have any kind of bids on construction?” asked board member Karla Anderson.

“We spent $800,000 to build the three classrooms on the east side of the building back in 2003,” answered Superintendent John Joynt.

“I don’t want to say that it’s all or nothing on these options, but it is,” observed board member Tammy Naig.

“We have talked about replacing the gym before,” agreed Anderson.

“I would have to agree with Joe on the traffic concern he raised,” noted board member Rick Brennan. “A new central point would be much safer. It can get a little crazy up there at times.”

As the discussion continued, Joynt agreed the district’s Facilities Committee should begin talking about the options and looking into them, bringing the discussion to a close.

In other business, the board approved the hiring of Brian Malm as a regular route bus driver, and were informed by Joynt that there would be a reduction of one bus route for the coming year, as new transportation director Dallas Naig would take over the town route, eliminating town stops from the other routes.

The board also approved the hiring of Jeremy Zeigler as a fourth grade instructor along with middle school wrestling coach. Zeigler comes to Emmetsburg after three years at Estherville Lincoln Central as a first grade instructor and in Omaha prior to that.

“We had about 25 to 30 applicants and had advertised locally and statewide,” reported Carter. “After an initial group of six, we interviewed three and Jeremy is very experienced in the Iowa Core and helped develop ELC’s programs.”