Stakeholders group makes recommendations
By Holly Neumann
The Community Stakeholders Group for Manawa schools recommended that the old elementary building be demolished.
At its Oct. 3 meeting, the committee gave the following reasons for demolishing the old school:
• Gives the community options to pursue in the future;
• Explores the lowest cost of the options;
• Eliminates any upkeep cost for the existing building;
• Eliminates recurring expenses;
• Provides relief for the community-remove building and move on;
• Leaves space open for future plans;
• Eliminates an amount of space not needed by the district now or soon;
• Allows for future expansion where it is most needed by eliminating the need to use the space for something;
• Dangers to public and insurance costs.
“Our recommendation is that a school district never sell property,” said Jody Andres, K-12 market leader/architect for Hoffmann Planning, Design and Construction. “Any land attached to the district is prime property and is the hardest thing for a district to obtain once it is gone.”
District Administrator Melanie Oppor also pointed out that the property is located between two other school buildings.
“This could become a safety issue if it were to be sold,” she said. “Students do travel between the other school buildings in that area.”
The consensus was that the building should come down.
The group also discussed the possibility of moving the sixth grade to the high school building.
Currently the elementary school holds PreK-6, while the JR/SR High School holds grades 7-12.
“If you remember from the capacity study done earlier this year, there is space available at the high school, while you are full at the elementary,” Andres said. “This is one strategy to improve this.”
According to Andres, research shows that there are some curriculum advantages with this option.
“You think about things like the tech education,” he said. “That is something they are not getting at the elementary school.”
High School Principal Dan Wolfgram said that from a curricular stand point it all makes sense to bundle them together.
“My concern is facilities,” he said. “I believe that just to put the sixth grade at that building would be wrong, if we are not going to take care of the environment. There are concerns that need to be addressed to maintain optimal learning environment for our kids. If we are not going to do anything to the facility and just move them up there, I would question that decision.”
Science areas and physical education space were of concern.
Wolfgram said they would also have took look at extended education issues such as art and music.
Andres said during staff interviews, moving the sixth grade was supported.
“This is a good idea to explore,” he said. “Simply because this district is not going to be able to look at another building for quite some time.”