In 2010, the District began Phase 1 of a three-phase project to expand and modernize Memorial School. Phase 1 included asbestos removal, updating parking lots, improved landscaping, modernization and relocation of offices, construction of two new classrooms, a new faculty lounge and upgrades of all doorways for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Phase 1 was completed under budget with no debt issued, and no additional tax burden to taxpayers. The Board of Education insisted that all phases be completed in cash, pay as we go, to protect the community and the District’s financial position.
As you have noticed, Phases 2-3 are now underway. Phase 2 is the expansion and modernization of the Media Center and Phase 3 includes four additional classrooms. Phases 2-3 were decided to be completed simultaneously to shorten and minimize disruption to students. Work began the day after dismissal in June and continued throughout the summer. The summer work included demolition, foundations, and securing temporary walls to allow the exterior work to continue while school is in session this year. The scope of the project is simply too great to complete entirely in a summer. In fact, a good portion of the work will wait until next summer for three reasons:
- Connecting the new parts of the building to the existing building is too disruptive a task to perform while students are in session;
- Completing work next summer allowed the Memorial community to stay at Memorial School and to avoid another transplant to Sandidge School as was done in 2010; and
- Finally, spreading the cost over multiple budget years allows the District to continue to pay cash as we go, rather than issuing debt or raising taxes.
- The new rooms will allow us to serve more Early Learning students. Currently some of our eligible students are bused to other schools in the district.
- The addition will allow us to move Art class into a classroom and off of a cart.
- The addition will allow us to have work areas for English Language Learners and Special Education. This will provide quieter work areas for students and their teachers.
- The Media Center addition will allow for a quiet space for the reading program.
- The Media Center addition will also create a space for the Math specialist to work with students in a quiet setting.
- The new Special Education work office will have a private phone area which will allow for confidential conversations with parents.
- The gym will be air-conditioned. This will be a big relief in the fall and spring.
- The Media Center addition will provide a nook area that the Media Specialist will use for small reading groups.
- The bathrooms in the Early Learning/Kindergarten rooms will be bigger and have sinks.
Please, pardon our dust in the coming months as we complete the final phases of the expansion and rejuvenation of Memorial School. We are so proud of Memorial School, and we are committed to ensuring the finest facilities.
Dr. Jeff Stawick
District 146 Superintendent
YOUR TURN: What do you think about the construction being done at Memorial School? Share your thoughts in the comments section.