Concerns raised about rebranding, old building, finances
By Holly Neumann
The Community Stakeholders Group for the Manawa School District met to discuss the Site Analysis and Feasibility Study on Sept. 5 at the elementary school.
Jody Andres, of Hoffman Planning, Design and Construction Inc., welcomed more than 30 people in attendance.
He opened up the meeting by asking what the word around the community has been.
“I am sure there has been some talk about how this process is going and some questions have been asked,” he said.
Among the concerns were the districts rebranding, what to do with the old elementary school and the $90,000 owed to Treehouse Foods.
It was suggested that either virtual or walking tours be given to interested community members to see what the condition of the building really looks like.
District Administrator Dr. Melanie Oppor voiced her concerns about walking tours.
“This would have to be an adult-only tour,” she said. “There are some dangers in there and I would not small children exposed to that.”
The question was raised as to whether or not people would stop in.
“I think it’s important to give people the opportunity to go through it at this point,” said Andres. “If you do a video, people are going to think it was staged to look bad. With a tour they can see firsthand.”
Oppor agreed to look into dates to make this happen.
Bryant Cobarrubias, who is chairing the committee and managing the project, showed some of the logo concepts that were submitted and narrowed down by the committee.
“The idea is that we want one wolf head, one letter ‘M’ and one claw mark,” he said. “No they will not always have to be used together. You can pull the wolf to use on a t-shirt, or the ‘M’ for our football helmets. But we do want people to look at the logo and know that this is Manawa.”
Cobarrubias addressed some of the questions have come up among community members.
“There are no plans to paint over the wolf in the gym. That is art that was created by a student and will remain,” he said. “The uniforms will be replaced as part their normal equipment rotation. The district will not have any extra cost with replacing equipment. When equipment is replaced it will have the updated logo.”
Community members can get information about the new logo choices by visiting www.manawaschools.org/logo-rebranding.cfm.
“We absolutely want comments and suggestions,” he said.
Information is also going to be available at Sturm Memorial Library.
Oppor responded to the concern about Treehouse Foods.
“We have available assets that we can use,” she said. “We won’t have to lose any services. There is room for some give and take in the budget to make that happen. Carmen (O’Brien, business manager) is working on it.”
In other business the committee also reviewed and compared the net square footage of available space to the targeted amount at each of the schools.
“This is a tabulation of all the spaces within the entire school,” said Andres.
At Manawa Elementary School, the biggest deficiency came in the academic areas. The targeted range sits at 25,893 net square feet, based on the districts goal of having 28 or less students per classroom. At those numbers, currently there would be a space deficiency of 3,763 net square feet.
“Does this say that your student spaces are too small?” said Andres. “No. That’s saying if you are truly going to be working with 28 students per classroom, maybe you should consider a little more space.”
These numbers do not include collaboration areas in the building that could take over some of the capacity.
“The bottom line for the elementary school is that to house the number of programs that you are housing, this is a pretty good sized building,” Andres said. “You are right where you need to be.”
Right now, the building has room for 392 students. The current capacity is 347.
At Little Wolf Jr/Sr High School the largest concern comes in the Physical Education areas.
“Typically for a district your size, you would see a two full station gym,” Andres said. “In other words you would be looking at two operating basketball games at the same time.”
This would require approximately 14,000 square feet. Currently the Jr/Sr High gymnasium is only half that.
“This is not mean the district should go out tomorrow and build a new gym,” he said. “This is saying that compared to others you are a little bit small.”
The next Community Stakeholders Group will take place at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the elementary school library.
This meeting will include a discussion on where to go from here with the old elementary school building.