Board takes steps to expand Jolley Elementary

Board takes steps to expand Jolley Elementary
There's a tsunami headed toward Jolley Elementary – made of an ever-growing wave of students that are expected to be enrolled there in the future.

Monday night, during a special meeting, the Vermillion School Board took steps to make sure the school building and its staff isn't eventually swamped by trying to educate too many children in too few classrooms.

After hearing proposals from two architects: Sandy Dickenson of Fine Line Architecture, Vermillion, and Merideth "Pete" Larson, of TSP, Sioux Falls, the board eventually decided to hire TSP as the consultant in charge of the school addition.

TSP provided drawings at Monday's meetings that give a rough idea of how Jolley would appear after the new construction is complete.

It is estimated that nearly 10,000 square feet will have to be added on to the present building. The addition will include eight new rooms of various sizes, according to TSP's design.

It will also include the renovation of a 950 square foot girls' and boys' rest room.

Enrollment figures at Austin and Jolley Elementary schools clearly demonstrate that something will need to be done quickly to accommodate a growing elementary enrollment in Vermillion.

Austin Elementary School, the home of the Vermillion School District's kindergarten, first- and second-grade students, is currently bursting at the seams with 321 students.

As those children grow older and eventually leave second grade, they will be educated in Jolley Elementary, which houses the district's third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.

Austin's enrollment is projected to remain high. Jolley currently has a little bit of room to spare, with a total enrollment of 271 students. By 2008, however, Jolley will start to see a growth in pupil numbers, as more and more students outgrow Austin.

Next year, Austin's enrollment is expected to total 338. By 2008, numbers at the school will reduce some, to 326.

But they will grow at Jolley. Next year, Jolley will house 267 students. That number will grow to 296 the following year, and 321 by 2009.

In the years 2010 and 2011, total enrollment at Jolley is projected to be 338 and 326 respectively.

Dickenson told the school board Monday that she based her proposal on the largest plan being discussed, and it could be modified if changes were needed.

"Originally, I thought that my firm was not going to be large enough to do this project, but the more I became involved in it, in working through the preliminaries, it's not a particularly complicated addition," Dickenson said.

Members of Fine Line Architecture's design team include Dickenson, Structural Engineering Associates and West Plains Engineering, structural and mechanical and electrical engineering firms both located in Sioux Falls.

TSP of Sioux Falls, Larson said, is the former Spitznagel Architecture Firm.

"We've been around Sioux Falls for 76 years, and I've been involved in a lot of the recent area school projects, both K-12 and higher ed," Larson said.

One of TSP's more recent projects is a $2.1 million gymnasium addition on the Alcester Public School. TSP has also worked on the Harrisburg High School, and is still active in that district.

After debate that lasted nearly an hour over whether to award this project to a local or out-of-town firm, the board decided to retain the services of TSP, mainly because of its experience with larger school construction and renovation projects.

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