About Our Schools By Ron Flynn The public vote on the Wakonda School building project bond issue will take place on Nov. 14.
I am urging your support and this is the first in a series of articles in which I will attempt to explain the project and why Wakonda needs this project now.
What does the project
The building project includes a new addition and remodeling of the existing building. New construction would include a new building for grades preschool through six, a new elementary special education room, a Title room, an elementary principal's office, a greatly expanded school-community library, an expanded weight room and a larger lobby/concession area.
The expansion will add 14,500 square feet. Elementary classrooms would be 850 square feet which is much closer to the recommended size than those we have now, some of which are less than 500 square feet.
Extensive remodeling and refurbishing would also take place in the 1922 structure we currently use for grades K-12. This building would be used for grades 7-12 classrooms. Some of these rooms would be enlarged, we would gain storage space, better office space, and more classrooms would be available.
The building would be made more handicapped accessible and safer for our students.
Both buildings would become more energy efficient than the current building is now. On the coldest days of winter some rooms have their windows wide open and are still uncomfortably warm while other rooms are too cold. Air conditioning would be added to improve the learning environment for our students in the spring and fall months.
How would our students benefit?
With more classrooms and more space, teachers can be more creative in how they choose to teach their classes. Grouping and work-stations will be possible. Computers, audio-visual equipment, and other technology take up more space than chalk and erasers of days gone by.
The addition of special education, Title, distance learning, computer labs and girls' athletics have created a space crunch. Most schools are expanding for this very reason. Some of our classrooms are less than 500 square feet which really limits how our teachers can offer instruction.
Some of our teachers don't even have a room they can call their own. Others are forced to use their prep time in a room other than the room they teach in because other classes are being taught there.
Our weight room is unsafe and virtually useless for team conditioning. The old gym is used almost every night through most of the year, but before it can be used, tables and chairs have to be moved out through narrow doorways.
The remodeling will create storage space for the chair racks and larger doorways will make it easier to move lunch tables in and out. This will lead to increased safety for our athletes.
How will the public benefit?
This will be a project our entire community can be proud of. The crown jewel of the building will be a 2,000-plus square foot library with a computer lab right next door. The public will benefit from having easy access to a library and computer facilities. Greater selection, less duplication, and greatly expanded hours of availability would make this facility a place which could be utilized by preschoolers to senior citizens.
There will be an adult section and computers with internet access available in the library as well as the lab adjoining the library.
Having a nice facility will help insure that young families want to live in Wakonda thereby increasing the tax base and lowering the tax increase needed to build it. Also, as will be explained in future articles, increasing the number of children who enroll at Wakonda, and keeping the students who are currently enrolled, will greatly increase our state aid. This increased funding will make it easier to offer a quality education to all of the children who attend school here.
Next week: Why the time to build is now.