Posted by T. Conrad on 1/19/2016 7:15:32 AM
Facilities, class size, performance, accreditation, funding, enrollment growth are topics that will always be the epicenter of progressive/growing school districts. Over the next few months the landscape in Kansas is expected to change drastically regarding educational funding, accreditation. In Piper, the landscape will literally change later this spring with the addition of an 8 classroom modular unit that will be located on the East side of the Middle School.
The modular classrooms have been constructed to our specifications and include 8 regular size classrooms with sheetrock walls, drop ceilings, fire sprinkler system, carpet, tile, sidewalks and male/female restrooms. The classrooms provide space for up to 240 students and will be occupied primarily by 8th grade students beginning in August 2016.
The additional 8 classrooms provides the district with the flexibility to adjust and reconfigure other buildings to meet the immediate enrollment needs. With that said, it appears that the time frame of 2020/21 will need to have a larger scale facility space increase as at least 2 buildings will be at or over capacity. The solutions begin developed now are indeed temporary solutions that provide a plan for the short-term of 1-3 years.
Logistics are currently being developed regarding schedule, staffing, reducing transitions from building to building, utilization of facilities, and the reconfiguration of grade levels within buildings. Beginning in August, 5th grade students will occupy the newest addition on the south side of the Middle School building. Currently, discussions are taking place regarding the configuration of East, which is likely to include half of the 3rd grade and all of 4th grade. If this is the course of action that will be implemented, all buildings in the district will be under capacity for the next few years.
Continual evaluation of enrollment trends, new construction, appraisals, configuration of buildings, patron input will be ongoing over the next 10 – 12 months. Through the facilities evaluation process during that time span, we will be able to ascertain and develop a comprehensive plan that falls in line with patron support, survey data, and feasibility.
“We are confident the temporary solution that has been put in place as a result of the unsuccessful bond attempt in June, is the most viable option for our district at this time. The solution, albeit temporary, has the flexibility to evolve as a permanent piece of a more elaborate solution as we evaluate the situation over the next several months,” commented Superintendent Tim Conrad. “Student outcomes, services, efficiency will not be jeopardized. Our district has a very solid reputation across the state. We are determined to work together as a community to address the continual growth of 60 -100 students per year by finding a means to accommodate the learning space required to continue to build on the strong foundation that we have.”