Capital project committee turns its attention to school configuration options

Notes from the committee’s Feb. 25 meeting

This year, a 40-plus member Capital Project Community Advisory Committee is working with the district architects and a consultant who is conducting a study that will identify potential school configuration options. The committee’s overall charge is to develop long-term capital project recommendations that address existing infrastructure needs, the district’s program vision, a projected enrollment increase and dwindling capacity for additional students.

The data that has been shared with the committee include: enrollment projections, a capacity study, the most recent building conditions survey (2015), the acreage at each school that could be used to construct additional classrooms, the District Program Vision, and data observed and compiled by consultant Paul Seversky after a visit to each school hosted by the principal. View the enrollment and capacity studies and other committee documents

Based on the data, the committee spent the Feb. 25 meeting discussing potential configuration options and other aspects of planning that should be addressed. The purpose of the conversation was to help guide Dr. Seversky as he drafts the program delivery study.

Configuration Ideas and Questions Shared by Committee Members

  • Relocate the District Offices to the Hillside Avenue transportation facility or another location to free up classroom space for students at Van Antwerp.
  • Is it possible to align the capital project timing with when debt service levels are dropping to provide greater stability? (Note: The anticipated fall 2020 timing of a capital project proposal is based on this.)
  • Reallocate space at the elementary schools for different configurations, address the need for instructional support space, and potentially allocate space for prekindergarten programming.
  • Address the current condition of buildings along with program delivery.
  • Identify how student transportation will be impacted by the options.
  • Leverage schools that are adjacent to each other with K-8 campus concepts at Hillside/VA and Rosendale/Iroquois.
  • Is it better to add a small number of spaces at many/all schools or more space at fewer sites?
  • Have five, K-4 elementary schools, a 5-6 building and a 7-8 building, and a 9-12 high school; Use the space we have and add what might be necessary.
  • Add space at schools that are more centrally located, such as Craig, Hillside and Rosendale.
  • Address instructional space needed at the middle level, especially for the music program.
  • The options must account for instructional space required to achieve the program vision (i.e. flexible space where students can collaborate and work on real-world projects).

As an additional note, the district does not anticipate any scenario that includes closing a building.

Next steps

Dr. Tangorra is arranging an upcoming tour of various schools by Community Advisory Committee members as their schedules may allow in the month of March. The committee will discuss and review a draft of the program implementation study at its next meeting on March 28. At a future meeting the committee will help identify opportunities and challenges for each scenario, which will be included in the final report to the Board of Education and community.