What did consultant recommend to A-W School Board?

Posted January 13, 2018 at 10:49 pm

j A-W McCalls floor plan 12-11-2017.tif

By Julie Ann Madden

Educational consultant Jerry McCall presented his report of recommendations to the Akron-Westfield School Board at their Dec. 11 meeting.

McCall had been hired to analyze the school district’s future educational needs to not only maintain a quality school but be a prosperous business, too.

He showed the school board and three in the audience with The Akron Hometowner two “paper” concepts: a traffic pattern concept and facility structure changes.

Traffic Pattern Report

McCall suggested changing the way traffic enters and exits the school property on Kerr Drive. In fact, he suggested creating three separate traffic areas.

1) Student Parking. Students would park in the recently-paved south parking lot only. A new entrance would be constructed with a southern access to Haskell Street.

Faculty and staff would park along the south side of the building.

2) Bus Frontal Load/Unloading System. Buses would be parked at the northern edge of the recently-paved south parking lot. The buses would face the current grassy area and students would enter/exit buses at their front end as buses would park side-by-side instead of end-to-end.

A 30-Minute Gated Area would be included in the bus area. To the west of the first bus would be a gate across Kerr Drive near the Ninth Street intersection, preventing traffic from entering farther into the school property for 30 minutes before and after school.

3) Parent Drop Off/Pickup Route. A new street would be constructed in the grassy area west of the current main entrance. This would be a one-way roadway.

Outdoor Classroom

McCall suggested creating an Outdoor Education Park to the east of the Fleet Garage.

Facility Structure Changes

McCall made 11 recommendations for the current school building.

1. Middle School Classrooms. Convert the current art and science rooms into Middle School general classrooms.

2. Art Room/Patio. Build an addition off the northwest corner (north of the current science rooms) for an art room with patio for outdoor art lab and photography.

3 Science Room & 4. Ag Business Room. Renovate current Shop/Ag areas, construct greenhouse and small animal husbandry/aquaculture area.

5. IT/STEM. Create an Information Technology (IT) and Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics (STEM) flex lab for pre-engineering facility with flex lab for carpentry, auto mechanics, welding, exploratory. This area would be revamped every five years to meet future academic needs.

6. Administrative Services & Student Services. Using the elementary principal/elementary secretary space and McDonald’s area, create one administrative student services area. The Main High School Office, principal, superintendent, business manager, guidance and school nurse offices would all be moved to this one area.

7. Wellness Center. A new 2,500 square feet fitness/wellness center would be created through a joint program with Mercy Medical Services to provide Certified Nursing Assistant and nurses training, weight and cardio-vascular machines for use by both students and community citizens.

8. Student Center. High school students would have their own entrance through a student lounge area — instead of using The Commons area. This area, approximately 1,200 feet could include student-centered and operated snack store and bank.

9. Flooring. New flooring in the current New Gym.

10. Storage & Lockers Additions. Renovate the current athletes’ lockers and storage (to the east of Old Gym). This would include an addition to the east of the facility.

11. Pre-Kindergarten. Move the current Preschool from the Akron Children’s Center to the school facility’s current School Nurse area.

Questions & Answers

A. What to do with the current Main High School Office & current Middle School area?

Use the space to do things we haven’t been able to do such as create an Guidance Counseling/At-Risk Student Center.

McCall said in 10 years, the number of Resource Programs required will double. A Level III Multi-Cat (Special Education) area will need to include a mini-kitchen and be 1,000 to 1,500 square feet to accommodate a handful of Special Needs students in Grades 3-12.

More space will be needed for a variety of programs and program changes in the future so how it is used is up to the school administration and school board.

B. With districts our size, should the outdoor track be paved?

Whoever shows up at the door, you need to have a chair for, said McCall, explaining this is a way to attract students — it’s a community decision.

McCall feels it’s a must since A-W has 100 Grades 6-12 participating. That’s huge participation. A track is a need.

The school board and administration has to determine what is optimally financial feasible though, he said.

C. Are we in good shape with enrollment size?

At 700 students, the school facility will be “optimally impacted” and more space will be needed.

McCall told the board they would need to be able to handle a 10 percent change in student enrollment — 50 to 60 students within a 5, 8, or 10-year period.

Depending on which classes are affected by enrollment increases would determine what would need to be built. For example, DK-3 students do not need gymnasiums, science labs, and such while high school students do, said McCall.

Many elementary facilities don’t have art and art rooms, he said. A-W is fortunate to have these.

Students working in teams also need more table space than students individually do, said McCall.

It was noted the current facility did hold 700 students at one time previously but McCall noted Middle School students are larger than they were back then. There are also many more Resource Programs for Special Needs students now.

“The community really likes everything that’s going on here — elementary, middle school and high school,” said McCall. “It would be said to hold it back to what was built (20 or 30 years ago.)”

D. Replacement of Community Workforce should be one goal of the school district.

Give junior and senior students more opportunities than they’ve had in past years.

Career education — A-W has connections to several local businesses and area programs such as Western Iowa Tech Community College, said McCall. That is tremendous.

Next Steps

1. Review of ideas and concepts. McCall met with several groups over the past few months in development of his final recommendations as he detailed in the board presentation.

Listen to what people say to change, rearrange or modify in his recommendations. What 80 percent of the people agree on is what the school district should do.

McCall suggested having 12 to 24 people who represent the cross-sections of the community review his concepts.

Board President Nick Schoenfelder said the next step is to have a regrouping, to form a focus group, get some feedback and determine where our next step is.

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