Attendees at Union R-XI’s School Board meeting Monday evening got a first glimpse of what a new district elementary school might look like in a 3D virtual tour of the building.
The rendering gave the board and others a view of both the outside and inside of the school, showing what its classroom wings, media commons and other major areas might look like.
HTK President Mark Franzen and Architect Matt Patterson presented the rendering and several other project designs at the meeting, including two newly refined designs for the elementary school.
Franzen said the designs were shaped and redesigned based on feedback from the school board, district staff and the community.
The two new elementary school designs for the district-owned land near East Central College are estimated to comfortably fit 600 students and, at a maximum house 900. Each classroom is designed to fit up to 25 students.
Along with the building’s designs came designs for the surrounding land at the property and where possible fields, roads and playgrounds might be placed.
A revised design of a sixth-grade wing at the middle school and where a gym might be constructed in the future were also presented, along with slightly adjusted plans for Beaufort Elementary, the district’s maintenance building and three designs for Union High School’s media center.
Franzen said the proposals are a direct reflection of the feedback HTK received at the board’s last workshop Wednesday, Dec. 6, on the facilities plan. He said each meeting is a step closer to a final design.
“We’re seeing some really good, forward thinking, on how they want to deliver their curriculum,” Franzen said. “We know that this will be ever evolving and needs to be flexible so the district can adjust and grow with future educational trends.”
The proposed elementary school, which has been estimated to cost around $15-19 million, is the district’s plan to alleviate overcrowding in the district. This, along with several other improvements in the district, is estimated to cost approximately $25-31 million.
In 2003, the district faced similar overcrowding issues at the high school, where the number of students caused multiple teachers to hold classes in hallways using storage carts for their classroom materials.
The high school was expanded through Prop 2, an $11.25 million bond that added onto the high school to alleviate the overcrowding.
The district plans to pay for these projects in a similar fashion through a no-tax increase $20 million bond in the April 2018 election.
In order to get the bond on the ballot, ballot language must be created and a specific summary of what the funds would be used for must be approved by the board of education and submitted to the county by Jan. 23, 2018.
If the bond were approved and made it on the April 2018 bond election, the district would need a four-sevenths majority vote. A $23 million 2019 bond has also been discussed as a backup plan.
The board is set to meet every Wednesday in the month of January to prepare bond language. A vote on that language could take place at the Wednesday, Jan. 17, meeting of the board.