With Clark-Vitt Elementary on the chopping block, and the construction of another in the first draft of Union School District’s facility plan, administrators are beginning to envision what the district may look like in the not too distant future.
Superintendent Steve Weinhold said while all plans are preliminary, he doesn’t expect the plans HTK Architects presented to the school board to change much.
Most notably, Clark-Vitt Elementary is slated to cease operations as an elementary school after the construction of a new building on district-owned land near East Central College.
“We’ll be looking for the best feasible option for Clark-Vitt if the decision is to build a new elementary school,” Weinhold said.
Weinhold said Clark-Vitt could act as an alternative school, warehousing, or even a career technical school. He said the architects would need to ensure the building could be used in those ways before any concrete plans are made.
“We want to get the architects to make sure it will still be feasible to use it that way,” Weinhold said.
HTK listed a host of facility problems at Clark-Vitt, including electrical issues, sewer and water piping failures, and more. He said an ongoing issue at the school will be the layout of the building and the large hill it was built into, making it difficult to expand the current facilities.
There are, however, proposed improvements to the building if the board decided to continue using Clark-Vitt as an elementary school. Asbestos tile removal, a new elevator, fixing exterior issues, upgrading electrical problems and piping that is causing water and sewage issues were all listed as possible improvements to the building.
As for students and staff, most would be distributed to other elementary schools Weinhold said, adding that all administrators will most likely be transferred to the new elementary school, while elementary teachers and students will be distributed throughout the district and sixth-graders would move to the middle school.
To keep costs down, he added it was unlikely new administrators would be hired.
“We would try to keep the administrative costs down to a minimum,” Weinhold said. “We’re trying to keep the jobs we have.”
He said if the current proposal were to be approved by the board unchanged, and the tax levy is passed in April, the new school would be planned to be open for the 2020 school year, with construction beginning in 2018 or 2019.
The school board will hold a workshop Wednesday, Dec. 6, to further hone the plan with HTK, in hopes of preparing the proposal for a vote by the December meeting of the board.