$12.6M preliminary cost for USD 466 facilities upgrade

By Rod Haxton, editor

A long-range plan to upgrade USD 466 (Scott County) facilities at two of the three attendance centers, the administration building and the SCHS football field could carry an estimated price tag of more than $12 million.

“And we haven’t even begun discussion of a new competition gym,” noted Supt. Jamie Rumford following a board work session with representatives from GMCN Architects/Planners, Garden City.

At this point, discussion of any projects involving facilities is very preliminary even though the district is already faced with a lack of space due to classes of 70-85 students which are working their way through the elementary school.

“We need to begin developing some direction of what we want to accomplish and how we can gain more space so we can give the architects some ideas to build around,” said Rumford.

The architects did offer some ideas for building additions and interior renovations, but they were only seen as talking points since they weren’t based on direct input from the board or administration.

Elementary School

A general consensus is that the most immediate need is in the elementary school which has seen a significant jump in enrollment over the last 5-6 years. During that time, kindergarten classrooms have been moved into the lower level of the administration building while early childhood classes are held on the main floor.

Art classes have also been held in the building for several years.

That means moving students between the main attendance center and the administration building for art, music and physical education.

The goal of the district is to have four classrooms for each grade level. In order for that to happen, the architects recommended that pre-kindergarten classes be moved from SCES to the administration building.

At the same time, the art room could be located in the area currently used as the main office.


In order to provide better security, the architects recommend changing the front entrance so that traffic would be redirected immediately to the west (where a fourth grade classroom currently exists). Students would enter the building through the main doors - as they do now - so they could have easy access to the gym prior to the start of school each morning. Once school begins, that access would be closed off and all visitors would have to pass through the office.

Another possible change would call for construction of a new addition on the west end of the building that would serve as the music room and a tornado shelter.

The estimated price: $2.036 million.


Middle School

The middle school may offer the most challenges to the district as it would likely be faced with how to continue using part of the building while renovation was underway.

Architects said the original building, built in 1960, would require a “heavy remodel” while the 1980 addition would require a “medium” remodel.

The heavy remodel would call for that area of the building to be gutted and completely renovated, just as the district did with the existing wing of Scott Community High School during 2004-05.

Security is also an issue, with the architects suggesting the main office could be relocated to the northwest corner of the building. That would provide access to the fifth/sixth grade classes to continue while the rest of the building was being renovated. Seventh and eighth grade students could possibly have some classes at the high school, but the district would need temporary classrooms.

Because the lunch room is inadequate, students are currently required to eat in three shifts. The architects are proposing the construction of a new lunch room on the east side of the building. A new lunch room, in closer proximity to the gym, would allow for a much-improved concession area during sporting events.

The addition would consist of about 60,000 square feet.

Board member Lynnette Robinson explained that the lunch room was designed when the district still had an open lunch hour so there wasn’t near the demand for cafeteria space.

During the estimated 8-10 months that the older part of the building is being renovated, there would be no lunch room or gymnasium.

As for the bigger issue, Robinson added, “I have no idea where we’d move the kids.”

The estimated price: $6.28 million.


Administration Building

The most significant new construction offered by the architects would involve an addition on the south end of the administration building that would include four kindergarten and two pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Despite the age of the building, which was constructed in 1920 and had additions in 1951, 1983 and 1987, the architects were in agreement “it’s functioning very well. It’s in good shape.”

The Scott City Learning Center could also be relocated into the administration building.

The estimated price: $2.193 million.


Sports Complex

Concerns with the structural integrity of the football stadium, along with handicap access, have prompted the board of education to look at long-range plans to improve the overall complex.

The district has begun discussion on building a new restroom/concession facility. While the administration was looking at locating the new structure at the southwest corner of the block, the architects recommended the northwest corner. In addition, they suggested the north end could be converted into a parking lot that would have room for about 130 vehicles and the main gate would also be moved to this area.

There had been some discussion of covering the home stadium in stucco, but a structural engineer felt there was enough movement in the stadium that the stucco would soon crack. They recommended enclosing the sides and back of the stadium in pre-finished metal.

The proposal also includes new metal bleachers to be located behind the existing bunkers to the north and south of the main stadium.

A more immediate concern is inadequate drainage which directs water to the track. With plans already approved to install a new track later this fall, the board was advised this should be addressed to avoid deterioration of the new surface.

“You can prolong the life of the track with better drainage,” emphasized architect Stewart Nelson.

The estimated cost: $2.131 million.

However, Nelson noted there are a “lot of variables” with this project.

The board was also wanting more information about the long-term structural integrity of the stadium.

“If it’s structurally sound, then we leave it alone. If it’s in deteriorating condition then it’s something we have to consider,” Robinson said.

The board was told that when Garden City Community College recently installed new seating - 1,500 for home fans and 500 for visitors - it cost about $500,000.

In reviewing the preliminary plans, one of the biggest concerns of the board was whether they were addressing long-term needs.

“This would take care of our classroom issues now, but where will we be five years from now?” wondered board member Eric Erven.

Board members also questioned whether they were gaining adequate classroom space at SCMS.

“The next step is to get the staff engaged and after that we’ll go to the community,” said Rumford. “We can decide if we’re moving on the right track, if we want to do more or if we want to do nothing.”

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