The Scotland County R-I School District is undergoing a few changes for the 2017-2018 school year in an effort to meet the academic and safety needs of students and staff.
“This effort is taking place to maximize instructional opportunities to benefit student learning,” said Superintendent Ryan Bergeson “Student achievement, safety, and security are the top priorities for the school district.”
The district considered several possibilities in an effort to meet the needs of all students. The process began with trying to address large class sizes and the need to reduce the size for effective instruction within the Elementary Building, a priority for the district as it seeks to continue high levels of achievement while being able to have all students on the main campus.
“The board responded to the large attendance of patrons and staff members who brought concerns about class size, special education needs, and safety for all students. These changes will go a long way to addressing these concerns,” said Board Treasurer, Jamie Triplett.
To meet those goals, the current central office space at the elementary school will be transitioned into classrooms for small group instruction for Title I, Speech Therapy and the district special education office. This will enable the district to create two additional classrooms and add an additional special education classroom in the space currently used by Title I, Speech Therapy, and Special Education.
“These changes will reduce elementary classroom size in the grades with the largest numbers and will allow the district to provide a behavior specialist,” said Elementary School Principal Erin Tallman.
The district explored several options on where to place the central office and sought the advice of local contractors on using the existing life skills building that is located across the street from the elementary school. After reviewing bids for renovation costs and touring the building, it was determined that there were issues with foundation cracks and settling that made renovation of the existing building very costly. After reviewing bids to replace the building with a comparable structure, it was determined that the best use of district funds is to surplus the life skills building and property, then move forward with the construction of a LAN-DOW building to be placed on the eastside of the elementary school.
“We had hoped to be able to utilize the existing building space and make this process as simple and efficient as possible,” stated Bergeson. “Unfortunately because of foundation issues, the initial bids for renovating the structure were within $500 of the cost of building a new building, and likely did not include all of the necessary repairs.”
The building choice was based on the review of local bids and awarded to the Memphis Lumber Company. The new building will include the district’s central office as well as the Parents as Teachers Program.
“The district plans to utilize summer staff and Building Trades Instructor, Mike Hyde, to perform the finish work in the building in an effort to keep the project costs as low as possible.” said Bergeson
The high school changes will include transitioning Life Skills and special education classrooms into the main high school building. Additionally, the Learning Lab which encompasses the foreign language courses, dual credit courses, and Cooperative Career Education, will be moved to the former ITV Room located in the main high school building. Junior High and High School Art will be moved to the Vocational Building. These changes were made in an effort to make the first steps towards getting all students under one roof.
“We are excited about the progress being made at the high school building this summer. Finding a solution to our growing band program and connecting the high school and vocational building is something we are hoping we can address in the near future,” said High School Principal Kirk Stott.
The district is also making significant investments in facility improvement and maintenance projects this summer. The facility projects being completed this summer include roof repairs and maintenance on the elementary and high school buildings, replacement of the elementary air conditioning units, parking lot reseal and maintenance on all district parking lots, and brick tuck-pointing maintenance on the elementary and high school buildings.
“As always, it will be a very busy summer. The building maintenance projects are necessary investments to properly care for our facilities, “said Bergeson.
Enrollment trends have held steady over the last ten years. The district ended the 2016-2017 school year with a larger enrollment than the 2009-2010 school year.
“The Scotland County R-1 School District does not have enough available space to operate all programs on the Scotland County R-1 School District Campus,” said Board Member, Rhonda McBee. “These changes are being made in the best interest of our students and staff and will hopefully serve as the first steps of progress to meet the growing needs of our students.”