Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

6th-grade center is under scrutiny

February 19, 2004

School district officials are considering turning a building at 155th and Leavenworth Road, which currently houses the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, into a school for all sixth-grade students in the district.

On Monday, Feb. 17, Basehor-Linwood School Board members and administrators met to discuss facility uses and options for housing additional students.

Although no action was taken Monday night, the sixth-grade center, one of two options the board considered seriously, received the most support from school principals.

"I think a sixth-grade center sounds exciting," said Linda McFarlane, Glenwood Ridge Elementary School principal. "I think it's also developmentally appropriate."

"It's exactly what we're looking for," said Mike Boyd, Basehor-Linwood Middle School principal. "If I can't have them under my roof, it's the next best thing."

Don Swartz, school district director of building operations, told school board members Monday night that 122 homes within the school district are completed and for sale.

At .45 students per home, the school district's average student per home ratio, that's approximately 55 new students into the district if all the homes are sold.

And that number does not count new families moving into existing neighborhoods within the school district, officials said.

With limited space at the middle school and at Basehor and Glenwood Ridge elementary schools, the school board is attempting to find a solution to the possible influx of new students.

One option discussed Monday night, but perhaps the least popular, was the placement of mobile units at the schools needing additional space. Adding mobile units, at an estimated cost of $103,000, didn't receive much support from board members.

"I just cannot be in favor of mobiles," school board president Kerry Mueller said. "To me, it's like pouring money down the drain."

Mobile units no longer in use are already in place at Basehor Elementary School, but, "they're nasty," and need major remodeling work inside, Swartz said.

School officials said the virtual school could be possibly relocated to Basehor-Linwood High School if they move forward with the sixth-grade center.

If the school board moves forward with the plan, the building at 155th Street and Leavenworth Road could be equipped and outfitted to house sixth graders by next year. The school board will discuss the proposal further in coming weeks.

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