Plum school officials say redistricting and elementary school building renovations—as well as possible closures—could be on the horizon.
Now that the new George Pivik Elementary School has opened its doors to students, district officials are ready to move along with plans to better other elementary buildings—and that might mean building another new school, renovating existing buildings and/or closing some schools.
During a facilities committee meeting on Tuesday, school district Superintendent Timothy Glasspool made a presentation of seven "pre-decisional discussion" options for more efficient elementary school buildings in the district.
Currently, the district has five elementary schools—Adlai Stevenson, Holiday Park, Regency Park, Center and Pivik.
As of Sept. 4, there were 1,976 elementary school students enrolled in the district. Glasspool said the district's 3,999 students is the lowest enrollment in more than 15 years.
According to district data, each school in the district can house 100 or more students than are currently enrolled.
Here's a look at the seven options with estimated costs. All options include redistricting—shuffling students from current zones in an effort for more efficient transportation plans—most include the closure of Holiday Park and some include the closure of Regency Park:
- OPTION 1—Renovating Adlai Stevenson and Holiday Park at a cost of $12 million. Any renovation costs for Regency Park would be extra.
- OPTION 2—Renovating Adlai Stevenson and Holiday Park at a cost of $12 million, and closing Regency Park.
- OPTION 3—Building a school similar to the new George Pivik Elementary at the Adlai Stevenson site at a cost of $17 million plus the renovation cost of Regency Park. Holiday Park would close. OR Building a school similar to the new George Pivik Elementary with a third floor at the Adlai Stevenson site. That option would cost more than $17 million but less than $23 million.
- OPTION 4—Designing a new school on the Adlai Stevenson site at a cost of $23 million, and closing Holiday Park and Regency.
- OPTION 5—Renovating Adlai Stevenson with an addition and closing Holiday Park. That would cost $11 million plus the cost of renovating Regency Park. Regency would become a walking-only school.
- OPTION 6—Renovating Adlai with a larger addition, and closing Holiday Park and Regency. That would cost $15 million.
- OPTION 7—Renovating Adlai Stevenson with an addition, putting an addition at Center and closing Regency/Holiday Park. That would cost $11 million plus the addition at Center.
Board member Shane McMasters, facilities committee chairman, said he personally was leaning toward options that include the building of a new school.
Board member Loretta White said she was concerned about funding the project.
Glasspool said the district has about $16.6 million to work with in terms of funding a renovation/building project. Officials are expected to continue the discussion at a finance committee and facilities committee meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. at the Pivik cafeteria.
Officials said results of a demographic study they ordered earlier this year should be available by the end of this month or the beginning of October. That document is going to be an important tool moving forward, McMasters said.
"We'll learn a lot from our demographic study," he said. "It'll help us with our decision-making process."
Some parents in attendance expressed concern over moving children during the redistricting process, and others urged officials not to close Regency Park.
Glasspool said redistricting needs to be done regardless of what plan the board chooses.
"Redistricting is fiscally responsible," he said. "It's a hard pill to swallow, but I would rather keep all of our programs and redistrict."
Glasspool said the district's current plan doesn't make sense geographically, and many students bypass one school to get to their own. A Geographic Information System will be used to maximize efficiency in student placement, he said.
More on this matter will be discussed at the Sept. 18 meeting. Officials said they hope to eliminate some options in an effort to get things moving.
A final decision must be made by October if officials want to break ground on the project they choose at the end of this school year. Student placement during construction will be determined by the option chosen.
Is there an option you like? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!