Earlier this year Beaufort Elementary filled its last open classroom after an unexpected influx of kindergarten students were registered a day before school began.
“The inn is full,” Principle Kendra Fennessey told The Missourian shortly after school began, worried if another influx came, the school wouldn’t have room to house all of its students.
A semester later, Fennessey says she’s excited about the district’s plans for her school.
Beaufort’s upgrades were discussed at the district’s facilities workshop with HTK Architects, the firm hired to design a long-term plan mapping out the upgrades throughout Union R-XI.
In the plan, the construction of a new gym allows for existing space at the school to be remodeled into several classrooms, special education rooms and offices for counselors.
Fennessey said the improvements are coming at the right moment. Currently, the school would have to scramble to fit any more students in classroom, and with a history of unexpected bubbles, she said she worries about the possibility of overcrowding.
“We’re really excited,” Fennessey said. “We’re jam packed right now and I think the plan is fantastic. It’s definitely a win-win in both areas.”
She said the new classrooms, gym and media center will create the needed space for growth at the school and allow staff to use the classrooms that are currently stuffed full of students properly.
“Instead of squeezing into a room that wasn’t originally meant to be a full-size classroom, it will be great to have some new full-size classrooms and have the current rooms be used for what they were intended for.”
HTK’s long-range plan identified several areas for improvement and concern at Beaufort. Space issues, asbestos tile flooring, a gymnasium/cafeteria and other smaller maintenance issues were noted as problematic.
Fennessey said the plans are a big step in the right direction for the school that currently is only 100 students shy of capacity. She said easing the pressure will not only help her staff, but also improve the students’ learning environment.
While many suggestions and changes were set to be worked over at the district’s workshop pertaining to the new elementary school and other facility projects, Beaufort’s plan was largely unchanged.
The school board will meet again Monday, Dec. 18, for its monthly meeting where HTK Architects will present its revised plan. The meeting will be held at Union High School and will begin at 6 p.m.