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District 14 rounding up input on future elementary school

Feb 18, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Student wish lists included playgrounds, adequate restrooms, bowling alleys and game arcades.

Fremont County School District 14 continues to gather input about the future Wyoming Indian Elementary School that is set to open in a few years.

"Your community has been very helpful to us," educational facilitator Mark Antram said at a public gathering Jan. 24.

At a dinner event at the elementary school in Ethete, officials presented attendees with the information they have collected from students, staff, parents and others about what the community would like to see in the new K-5 facility.

Pupils polled said they wanted a bigger facility, with playgrounds and adequate restrooms. Antram said students also emphasized having a great library.

"It was just fabulous to see how many people talked about reading," he said.

Many chuckled when reading through the complete list of students' wishes, which included a bowling alley, a game arcade and to be able to feed the birds outside classroom windows.

When looking at building a new facility, school districts are required to submit plans to the Wyoming School Facilities Commission which considers renovating the current building, adding on or starting new construction. The SFC then selects what option to pursue.

Architect Matt Tredennick said the team developed 14 goals to follow when scoring which of the three options was most appropriate.

Among the goals were a school with a design that was culturally centered and has a safe environment, connection to surrounding environment, strong sense of family/community, diversity of learning spaces and site feasibility.

Several challenges come with renovating the school, Tredennick said, including how extensive and expensive the project would be. He said temporary facilities would be required during construction.

The option to add on, which would occur on the gymnasium, also has some disadvantages such as site issues and limitations because construction would have to be around an already standing building.

Under option three, new construction, officials looked at building the school on the north or south side of the campus.

If the building were on the north side, Tredennick said obstacles would include site grading, site drainage and accessibility to the main entry. If it were on the south side, challenges would include having a narrow site and the proximity to residences.

Tredennick said the team believes new construction was the best option.

"It's the best chance of fulfilling our goals," he told the group.

Superintendent Michelle Hoffman said she will now take the information to the board of trustees.

Plans will be presented to the SFC in March. After the SFC decides what option it feels is best, the project will move to the design/draft phase.

"That's when we get into the nuts and bolts of things," Hoffman said.

"That could take six to eight months."

If the district is granted new construction, Hoffman said the 53,710-square-foot school to accommodate 389 students is set to open some time in 2015.

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