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Proposed school plans starting to take shape
By By Alica P. Thiele
Challenger reporter

November 05. 2013 9:52AM
During the next month, planners will begin to form a design for an intermediate school so voters have an idea of what they will get if they approve a $5.95 million bond in the Dec. 3 election.

District enrollment triggers indicate that a new school will be necessary soon as the middle school is reaching capacity. A task force made up of administration, faculty and residents has recommended an intermediate school to house grades five and six. The move of the sixth grade from the middle school and the fifth grade from the district’s four elementary schools would give each of those schools more space, Superintendent Dave Pappone has said. An intermediate school would have a capacity of 900, he said.

The task force also recommended that a new intermediate school be built on 20 acres the district already owns just west of Robert Bennis Elementary. The site would allow for a one-story building with plenty of open space for play area and parking, the task force determined.

The project total would be $12 million, but the district is asking voters for $5.95 million, with the balance to come from the district capital outlay fund. The current pricing on the bond, with today’s interest rates, would be about $28 per year on a $100,000 valuation, Pappone said.

Last week, he gave the school board a look at a possible format for an intermediate school, based on results of a survey of fifth- and sixth-grade staff.

A majority said they would like the setting to be a blend of elementary and middle school, leaning toward a middle school format. Respondents said they would like the school to be set up in four “neighborhoods,” where students would move from room to room for their subjects.

Respondents preferred sticking with one elementary school practice though – recess. Only two said they would not want recess, and 11 said they would want two recesses a day.

Pappone said he found those numbers interesting, especially since 13 respondents said they would like an intermediate school to be more like a middle school.

Pappone told the board that architects will be meeting with teachers in specialized areas such as music, art and special education to see what their needs are. Uses will dictate size in many cases, he said.

A bond committee of administration, faculty and residents will design a brochure and other materials to keep the public informed of the proposal’s progress. Pappone said there will be more than one informational meeting for the public before the Dec. 3 election.

It will be a busy month, he said.


Which setting?
Blended 19
More like middle school 13
More like elementary school 3
Setting up “neighborhoods”? Yes 28, No 7
Recess? Yes, one per day 22, Yes, two per day 11, No 2

This month, planners will begin to form a design for a Brandon Valley intermediate school so voters have an idea of what they will get if they approve a $5.95 million bond in the Dec. 3 election. Challenger file photo

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