Communities get update on district construction, start time plans for 2009School District 833 officials updated residents on construction and changing grade configurations next fall at four community meetings in October.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
School District 833 officials updated residents on construction and changing grade configurations next fall at four community meetings in October.
Superintendent Tom Nelson gave an update on Park High School that is in the midst of $23 million worth of construction.
Auditorium improvements have been completed and a new wrestling room will be ready when practice begins in November.
Construction of a large meeting room, which can be used by the public, small meeting room and storage for the drama and music departments is expected to be completed by August.
Complete renovation of the heating and cooling systems and science room renovations will not be completed until school opens in 2010.
A six-classroom addition, for $4 million, is being built at Grey Cloud Elementary School. It includes two kindergarten rooms and a multi-purpose room to be completed by July of 2009.
Replacement of mechanical systems at Woodbury Junior High School for $11.2 million including upgrades to the swimming pool will be completed by August of 2009.
Construction of a new mechanical system, new stadium field, large meeting room, auditorium and science classroom improvements are essentially complete, Nelson said.
Construction of East Ridge High School, for $96.4 million, is on schedule to be completed by July and will open in the fall, Nelson said.
Seniors graduating in 2010 will remain at Woodbury and Park high schools so those schools will be “crowded” with approximately 2,000 students each.
About 14 neighborhoods have appealed to change attendance boundaries that were set in April.
With the school board’s set of criteria to be met, including 75 percent agreement by those in neighborhoods, only seven or eight are expected to be granted by the administration, Nelson said.
Appeals can’t be granted if it would require moving another neighborhood out, Nelson said.
About 4,500 kids will change schools next fall when ninth grades move to high schools and middle schools open with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, so transition programs are being set, according to Barb Brown, district director of communications.
Students will be bused to their new schools in February or March. Parents will be invited to open houses in the evening on the day students take tours.
Registration for next year begins in January for secondary students.
The district has also formed a task force to discuss school start and end times with a focus on research that states high school students achieve better if school starts later than 7:30 a.m., the current start time.
“If someone starts later, someone else starts earlier,” Nelson said, adding there are many issues to consider including daycare and employee concerns.
Because walking distance has been reduced to 1 mile for elementary and middle schools and 1.5 miles for high schools, there will be five start times in the fall of 2009 instead of four, he said.
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.