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Investigation of New EC Building & Schofield Gym Construction
The Republic School District's number one priority is taking care of students and fellow teammates. This focus takes on many different approaches, and one of those is our dedication to making sure we have safe and adequate facilities to meet all student needs. With our community's help, we've been able to implement that dedication time and time again.
Because of this, along with our dedication to continuous improvement, we are currently investigating the construction of a new Early Childhood Center along with a gymnasium at Schofield Elementary. Each facility would be constructed to serve as a high wind structure. Although preliminary, the current plan for funding these projects is through a lease purchase. Below are some bullet points to share why these facilities are needed:
Early Childhood Center with Attached High Wind Structure
- Our district philosophy is that early childhood education is an essential element to making sure students are successful in the traditional kindergarten through 12th grade setting. Our current facility has four classrooms and frankly, we have outgrown this building due to the continued growth in our community. To compensate, four additional classrooms are being utilized for preschool (full day and half day) at McCulloch and Sweeny Elementaries. Also, we have a waiting list for many of our EC classrooms. It's important that we expand our early childhood offerings to meet the needs of this growth. In addition, we need to be able to use the preschool classrooms at McCulloch and Sweeny for elementary classrooms as our community grows.
- In addition to the increased preschool enrollment, the district's early childhood special education population has grown by 40% in the past year.
- The design goal will be to create a facility that can serve double the current number of EC families. The proposed location of the facility is on the open lot next to Price Elementary which once housed the old football stadium that was decommissioned last year.
- Besides doubling the classroom and therapy spaces available, our initial design "must haves" include a multi-purpose area for Early Childhood events and activities that can also serve as a high wind structure to shelter both EC and Price Elementary students and employees during extreme weather events, like tornado warnings.
Gymnasium and High Wind Structure at Schofield Elementary:
- Currently Schofield Elementary does not have a gymnasium area so all students must cross Anderson Street to attend PE classes at McCulloch Elementary. The same is true for all building assemblies.
- Initially, the hope was to have a FEMA Safe Room at Schofield that would also serve as the gym, like the one at Sweeny Elementary. However, the district applied for FEMA grants multiple times and was denied. Therefore, a new funding source has to be determined to allow the district to construct this structure as stated in the facility improvement plan.
- Although the gymnasium will not be FEMA certified, the initial plan is to create a high wind structure that can withstand the same wind velocities as a FEMA certified safe room. This facility would shelter students and employees from Schofield and McCulloch in inclement weather.
As previously stated, the district is investigating this construction process and those findings will be shared at the September Board of Education meeting. This topic will be a discussion item for the Board of Education. After that meeting the district will proceed per the Board's direction, and we will share next steps at that time.