Archive for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Committee weighs where to build new school

March 21, 2007

If you were going to build a school, where would you put it?

It's one question among many a planning committee for the Basehor-Linwood district is trying to answer.

"We shared a map of the district with possible building sites so they could take a look at where you could possibly build a school," superintendent Bob Albers said.

Five to six sites available across the district, ranging from land north of Leavenworth Road to an area south of Interstate 70, were discussed.

"The sites are for sale and they are large enough to base a school on," Albers said.

"Committee members will be looking around for other possible sites. I'm sure there's other available land, but that's all we know at the present time."

The district facilities planning committee is made up of appointed community members, school board members, Albers and Don Swartz, executive director of business and facilities. The group met for the second time last Wednesday in an effort to find the best bond issue option to present to the public in the coming months.

Committee members at their first meeting requested several pieces of information, including a map of district with enrollment breakdown, possible building sites and bus travel times. Those issues were addressed at this meeting.

The student population was broken down by building and into the northern, central and southern areas of the district:

High School

  • 285 students reside in the northern area.
  • 173 in the central area.
  • 120 in the southern area.

Middle School

  • 144 students reside in the northern area.
  • 110 in the central area.
  • 60 in the southern area.

Sixth Grade

  • 77 students reside in the northern area.
  • 25 in the central area.
  • 25 in the southern area.

Elementary Schools

  • 408 students reside in the northern area.
  • 273 in the central area.
  • 119 in the southern area.

"This helps answer, if you're looking at a new elementary school, where would it need to be," Albers said. "It's just to see where the concentration of students are."

Committee members also took a look at the various subdivisions currently approved in the city.

Based on the number of homes, the northern part of the district could yield an additional 700 to 800 students, a potential 200 new students could come from future subdivisions in the central area and about 60 students from the southern area.

The age of each of the buildings was thrown into the mix. The oldest is the middle school, built in 1920; the newest is Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, built in 2000.

Some schools have undergone additions since their original construction. Basehor Elementary School, for example, has had three additions since it was constructed in 1955. It continues to use mobile units behind the building for classes.

Other schools have not undergone additions, but could. For example, GRES was designed so that eight more classrooms could be added onto the south side of the building if needed.

Travel times from various parts of the district also were discussed, Albers said. Travel time from the farthest north corners of the district to Linwood was about an hour and 30 to 40 minutes from the high school.

"From the center of the district we're looking at bus routes of probably a maximum of 40 minutes," he said.

The next committee meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. April 4 with the final meeting probably April 25, Albers said. Members will take the research presented to them and think of ideas for a bond issue to bring to the next meeting. Different ideas will be charted, a list of pros and cons of each one will be created and some will be eliminated while others are refined.

"We will try to come up with a consensus and make a recommendation to the board, probably May 14," Albers said about the upcoming meetings. "The board has the final decision on it."

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