School Board to Consider Moving District Office to High School

A committee recommends moving the district office to the high school.

The Greendale School Board will hear a recommendation at their May 16 meeting to move the district office from Highland View Elementary to Greendale High School. That is the recommendation of the elementary space committee, which has been looking at options to ease overcrowding at the elementary schools.

The committee was formed last fall and is made up of local residents, school administrators and staff. This is the fourth update the committee will present to the school board on the topic.

According to the committee's report, Canterbury Elementary is currently at capacity with no room for growth. Highland View now has reading groups meetings in hallways, special classes on carts due to lack of permanent space and a lack of staff work areas.

This year there are 17 class sections in grades K5 to 5th at Highland View and next year there will be a need for an 18th section. Storage is also a problem at the school, with materials currently stored in hallways and throughout the building. Projected enrollments are expected to rise at all three elementary schools over the next few years.

By relocating the district office to the high school, the current district office space would be remodeled into six new classrooms with a shared common space, to be used by the fourth and fifth grades. The 4K and early childhood program could be consolidated at Highland View, freeing up space at Canterbury.

The plan would convert the area at the high school currently used for wrestling/rec programs and the no-longer-used wood-shop into space for the district office, park and rec department and a new childcare program.

The district office is expected to be there temporarily, two to three years, until issues involving state funding are resolved. The cost of a permanent solution is estimated to be in the range of $1 to $2 million dollars which was deemed cost prohibitive at this time.

The committee felt that the space at the high school should be preserved for academics and changes in future programming or enrollments as opposed to housing the district office permanently. The childcare program, an idea that has interested the community and district for some time, would continue to be located at the high school.

The committee worked with Eppstein and Uhen, CG Schmidt and the Peter Scherrer development group to come up with the plans. The proposed costs and funding sources are as follows:

Highland View $561,841 Propose using Fund 10 Operational Balance GHS Renovation for District Office $447,370 Propose using Fund 80 Community Services Fund Balance GHS Renovation for Park & Rec Office $86,931 Propose using Fund 80 Community Services Fund Balance

The report states that the proposed funding includes soft allowances for technology and furniture/equipment and that cost estimates are purposefully on the high end to be conservative. 

While the plans call for the high school to be ready in late September, the new classrooms at Highland View would not be finished until January 2012. Originally the committee spoke about having the district offices moved in the Spring to build the classrooms in Highland View in time for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. The window for that opportunity has passed, according to the committee.

Interim space would need to be found at the elementary school, which could involve re-purposing the computer lab to classroom space, according to the report.

The school board is not expected to take any action on the proposal at the upcoming meeting. They will meet again on June 20th, when hard bid costs and planning will be presented.


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