Summer project: Basehor-Linwood school board gives go-ahead for restroom work
Not long after finishing the last of the construction projects associated with its 2007 bond issue, the Basehor-Linwood school district is planning to forge ahead with another, smaller project this summer — one that district officials expect to spark few objections.
The district's plan is to add restrooms to three kindergarten classrooms at Basehor Elementary School, and superintendent David Howard said at Monday's school board meeting that he expects few district patrons to oppose the use of district funds on the project.
“I think it's one of those that's so easy to justify that I don't think it's an issue,” Howard said.
The school board on Monday approved, 7-0, the payment of $32,000 in design fees to HTK Architects to draw up plans for the construction. Howard said Wednesday that the district has estimated the total cost of the construction to range from $240,000 to $300,000, depending on the extent of the work that the board approves.
Board member Doug Bittel said at the meeting that, of all the district's options for possible construction projects, the addition of kindergarten restrooms was likely the easiest to defend during a time of tight budgets and declining state funding.
“This was easily the best and the most easily justified,” Bittel said, “and hopefully the public, our district, would understand that you need bathrooms in a kindergarten room.”
District construction supervisor Chris Claflin explained at the meeting how kindergartners ended up in the three classrooms without bathrooms. After the bond-issue projects allowed for BES third- through fifth-graders to move over to the new Basehor Intermediate School and for an addition to Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, the district began to offer full-day kindergarten.
To accommodate the kindergartners who would now be in school all day, three regular BES classrooms were converted into kindergarten rooms, but they lacked the restrooms present in the district's other kindergarten rooms.
“The idea is that we'd have restrooms in all kindergarten rooms in the district,” Claflin said.
The district plans to turn the three regular rooms into two kindergarten rooms, Claflin said, as kindergarten classrooms are also typically larger than others.
Claflin said that in talking to staff at BES, he'd found that holding kindergarten classes in rooms without their own restrooms not only increased the number of “accidents” that occurred, but also required teachers to take large chunks of time to take entire classrooms of young children on bathroom breaks together.
Howard said the funding for the remodeling would come from excess money left from the 2007 bond issue after its projects came in under budget.
“We were very fortunate all of our other projects came in under bid,” Howard said.
The project's cost will likely fall closer to $300,000 if the district opts to add some other features, such as additional storage space and cubbies, to make the rooms similar to the district's other kindergarten rooms, Howard said.
The older classrooms at BES are likely more in need of renovations than any other part of the district's facilities, Claflin said.
“I think without question, in my opinion, from a facilities standpoint, this may be our weakest link that we're holding right now,” he said.
Also at Monday's meeting, the school board:
• Approved, 7-0, course changes at Basehor-Linwood Middle School for 2011-2012.
The changes, discussed at February's board meeting, include an altering of elective course options for sixth-graders that will allow them not to enroll in a band, orchestra or choir course if they choose not to.
• Approved, 7-0, the district's 2011-2012 calendar.
The calendar sets Aug. 19 as the first day of classes, Dec. 22-Jan. 3 as winter break (including a teacher work day), March 16-25, 2012, as spring break (including weekends and a teacher day) and May 25, 2012, as the last day of school.
• Approved, 7-0, the appointments of Derek Mazeitis as Basehor-Linwood High School girls soccer coach; Preston Becker at BLHS assistant girls soccer coach; Brandon Dye as BLHS assistant baseball coach; Terra Nichols as BLHS assistant softball coach; Kara Caraway, Erin Shore and Cristin Burnett as BLHS part-time assistant softball coaches; and Jessica Seichepine as BLHS assistant track coach.
• Discussed a new method for determining graduation rates adopted by the state of Kansas this year.