Archive for Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chambers hears update on school district’s contruction projects

August 26, 2009

Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard came to the Aug. 20 Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting to talk about the district's current projects and what parents and students could look forward to during the next year.

One project that is already complete is the addition to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School. Seven new classrooms were added to the building, two of which doubled as storm shelters during severe weather.

“With our new buildings and renovations, we wanted to keep the safety of our students in mind,” Howard said.

Linwood Elementary has some continued construction to its entry way in the front of the building. Howard said the new entrance and sidewalks were intended to draw more attention to the elementary school because the attached middle school will close after this year when the new middle school opens.

Another change at Linwood Elementary is the relocation of the office. It is now at the front of the building, Howard said, for added convenience.

The new middle school is coming along nicely, Howard said, and the finished product will be quite attractive.

"It's really an outstanding building," Howard said. "And once it opens, I think we'll see more growth in our community."

The building, set to open in August 2010, will house grades sixth through eighth with separate wings for each grade. Two gymnasiums, a storm shelter and large science classrooms were a few of the highlights Howard shared with chamber members.

“The science classrooms we have now are very small,” Howard said. “These new rooms will give teachers and students enough space.”

Basehor-Linwood's new intermediate school will not pale in comparison, as Howard said this school is shaping up to be a beautiful building. This building is scheduled to open in January 2010, and grades third through fifth will attend school there after Christmas break.

January is a month Basehor Elementary is looking forward to, Howard said, because the school is currently overloaded with children. Moving third-, fourth- and fifth-graders will give Basehor Elementary some much-needed space.

“Right now, the school has about 415 students, which is more than it was designed for,” Howard said. “We’re putting some classes in mobile units to create more room. When the new school opens, we can remove those mobile units.”

A set of double doors will guard the building, Howard said. Visitors can walk into the first set of doors, but will have to be buzzed into the second set and enter the school through the office.

“It’s a genius idea,” Howard said. “That way, people don’t have to stand outside and wait to get in, and no one gets in without going through the office.”

The boulevard to the intermediate school should be finished in three to four weeks, Howard said, and sidewalks will be restored on both sides of 155th Street.

Howard also updated chamber members on the district’s health and wellness facility, which will be built next to Basehor-Linwood High School. About 300 students, or about half the high school’s population, are currently enrolled in the school’s health and wellness class and were trying to work in an extremely small space, Howard said. The new facility will not only serve as a state-of-the-art athletic area, but it will also double as a FEMA storm shelter.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security granted the district $849,038 for construction of a tornado safe room in the facility, on which construction will begin soon. The facility will be built in compliance with FEMA 361 guidelines and will accommodate 1,200 people in the event of severe weather.

Howard said the health and wellness center along with the two new schools were sources of a lot of excitement in the district.

“We’re really looking forward to getting started on that,” Howard said of the health and wellness center. “And we’re also very excited about our other projects. We have a lot of great things going right now.”

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