School District eyes numerous facility changes

By: 
By GARRETT HARR
Outlook staff writer

On Tuesday, March 14, the school board met with the Community Task Force at West Elementary School with staff from LPW Architects to discuss facility changes, although many details are still under discussion.
The option called Option 8 is budgeted at $52 million, compared to the previous estimate of $55 million, drew the most interest.
The new plan would focus on purchasing 10-25 acres to build new facilities as well as improve older ones.
Proposed ideas for South Elementary construction is to repurpose and expand to create a career center. The budget for that is $2.5 million.
West will be looking at 14 new classrooms and a full-size gym and will be home for either grades K-2 or 3-5.
Graff Elementary would be left pretty much alone other than some upgrades.
The Administration building, also called the Old Middle School, will probably be sold with administration staff possibly locating at South..
The high school would get an auxiliary gym, expanded library space, more classrooms and more dining area and loft space in the Depot.
A softball field and new turf for football were also discussed. Old boilers would be replaced.
Every gym and cafeteria in the district is overcrowded and overbooked with current building usage.
The new plan would include three new gyms. This would bring in more travel teams and more schools to participate in Laurel, as well as provide access points for the clubs and organizations and sports that are having to work around the current schedule. Currently, some student athletes have to wake up at 5 a.m. for practice, as that is the only time a gym is available.
The new plan will also condense the current three elementary schools into just two.
Currently, none of the ideas are set in stone and the committee is taking all ideas into consideration for future plans.
Option 8 has been debated, discussed and reworked to implement the minimum growth for the area and met the upcoming needs of the district for the next 20 years.
The next meeting will be on April 11, at the middle school at 6 p.m. Land acquisition will be discussed.
On Monday, March 13, the Laurel School Board met at Graff Elementary for its regular meeting so teachers could give a presentation on the ways in which technology can help kids learn in the classroom.
Trustees approved the administrative support salary matrix. It will go into effect July 1.
A mill levy will be recommended at the March 27 meeting.

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