Archive for Thursday, November 4, 2004

School plans move ahead

November 4, 2004

The architecture and engineering firm that worked with the Lansing school district on its failed bond proposal in 2003 could be getting a second chance.

Supt. Randal Bagby will recommend to the Lansing School Board at its meeting Tuesday that Wilson & Company Inc. be hired to design a new K-5 school. The company, which has offices in Lenexa, also worked with the district on the $16.8 million bond issue rejected by district voters in 2003.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Lansing Intermediate School auditorium, 300 E. Olive St.

The recommendation on the architectural firm comes as Bagby continues working on a bond resolution to bring to the board. He said this week he hoped to have the proposal ready for board members in December, in preparation for an anticipated districtwide referendum in April.

Bagby envisions a new K-5 building on district-owned land on West Mary Street. The facility would function as two separate schools, one on each end, with shared services such as a cafeteria and nursing station in the middle. Bagby said the goal was to keep the total cost below $20 million.

His plan also is likely to include an auditorium for the high school and a bridge to connect the existing middle school and the planned elementary and intermediate K-5 building. Buildings vacated by a new facility would be used for community needs, and possibly for district office space.

Members of a Facility Planning Committee, charged by the school board with assessing the state of current facilities and drawing up possible solutions, have told the school board that Lansing Elementary and Intermediate schools are overcrowded and outdated.

"There's nothing that can be done to these schools to meet the needs without a bond issue," said Bernd Ingram, co-chair of the Facility Planning Committee. "People don't realize if you just went in and did a few little upgrades, you would need to spend a few million on buildings that are already there."

This is not the first time the school board and Facility Planning Committee have presented their concerns and suggested a school bond to help fix the problems. In 2003, a $16.8 million bond proposal was defeated in a public vote.

Until the bond resolution is approved by the board, nothing is official.

"Right now it's still talk," Bagby said of the bond issue. "We are still considering things."

But "I think there's wide-scale support for doing a bond issue," he said.

Shelly Gowdy, school board president, said she thought there was a consensus among board members to build a new K-5 building and an auditorium.

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