October 25, 2012

School plans outlined

School plans outlined

By JILL DENNING GACKLE

A diverse group – from young to seniors, from teachers to former board members – turned out Monday evening to learn more about the Nov. 13 bond election to remodel and build on the two Garrison schools.
Principals Shelly Fuller and Jim Upgren outlined the $9 million plans and gave their take on the impact to students.

Elementary Highlights
from Fuller:
• Four additional classrooms to accommodate growing population and additional services.
“For next year I don’t have enough classrooms for two sections of every grade, which I’m anticipating I will need.” (Preschool classroom, sporting 43 students every day, is a new classroom added in the past few years.) She continued: “Little kids do take up a lot of room, even though they are little.”
• Better use of the gym because of less lunches eaten at the elementary school. “Elementary schedule runs slave to the high school schedule; the high school schedule runs slave to the elementary schedule.” • Music and band need their own space instead of being shuffled to available areas or sharing with other classrooms.
• Restrooms. “We have more kids. We don’t have very many restrooms. Unisex bathrooms are common.”
• Storage. “ I can’t imagine building a house without storage. We are in a house without storage.” She explained that students are easily distracted by cluttered, unorganized rooms.
High School Highlights
from Upgren:
• “I feel we need to have our own cafeteria at the high school.” He said it’s a distraction to the 190 elementary students who eat lunch to have 150 high school students coming through. “The elementary students deserve to be able to learn in a nice, quiet environment.”
Travel time to get students bused back and from the high school to the elementary school is a time waster and makes for rushed lunches. He said 8-10 minutes to eat is not unusual.
It was explained that a multi-purpose room at the high school would serve as a lunchroom, general meeting space and possible phy-ed area when the gym is unavailable.
• Ag classroom and shop. He said the strong FFA program needs the environment to promote it. “I believe we need to continue promoting that and by having an updated ag shop, that would be the way to do that.” Superintendent Steve Brannan later added, “The participation is outstanding. Our ag shop is an embarrassment.”
 


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