June 21, 2007

Planning Committee Ranks Parking Lot, New Lockers Atop Proposed Improvements List

Improvements to the front parking lot as well as the student lockers at the high school topped the list of priorities established by the citizen Long Range Planning Committee for the Scotland County R-I School District.

Twenty members of the volunteer group met at the elementary school on May 21st and toured both school buildings and the support sites.

Superintendent Dave Shalley addressed classroom sizes, and lighting and electrical service issues during the elementary school tour. He displayed the ongoing boiler replacement in the building and also demonstrated the smart boards and other new technology. The committee members learned of some low voltage concerns that may require additional electrical upgrades at the site as well as reviewing several tile floors in the facility that likely will need to be replaced in the future.

Elementary School Principal Rhonda McBee highlighted recent improvements to the exterior of her building. She also noted that a wider sidewalk may be required for access to the life skills building to insure handicap accessibility.

High School Principal Ken Cross concluded the tour with a trip through his building. He demonstrated the facilityís security camera system and also discussed the ongoing project that ultimately will replace all 3,888 ceiling tiles in the school.

Following the tours, committee chairman Tom Deberry asked the members to prepare a prioritized list of improvements that each member would like to see done at the schools. Each member submitted a list of 10 improvements ranked from highest to lowest.

Paving the front parking lot at the high school and the elementary school was ranked highest in the 20-member survey. Upgrading the high school student locker system was next on the list, being mentioned on 11 of the 20 lists. Continued salary improvement for the staff also ranked high on the list along with continuing improvement to the districtís technology.

Other high-ranking improvements included carpet replacement at the high school as well as construction of a rain cover for sidewalks between the facilities.

A middle school annex remained a topic of discussion, but declining enrollment numbers have lowered the priority of adding new classrooms, despite the recognized need for a new media center and additional gym space that had been attached to the plan by the previous committee.

Other areas of interest included improvement and expansion of the industrial arts and vo-ag classrooms, future expansion of the building trades program, increased gym space at the elementary school, and a new office for the districtís technology director.

The committeeís report was presented to the school board at its June 7th meeting.

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