Building Futures: Looking Ahead to Future Needs at SPEC

Building Futures: Looking Ahead to Future Needs at SPEC
Posted on 02/01/2022
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Over the past four school years, enrollment at South Park Elementary Center has increased by approximately 11%. This school year, the district welcomed one of its largest kindergarten classes in recent years, totaling eight kindergarten sections. With that steady growth forecasted to continue and an expanding footprint of special services provided at the elementary center, the South Park School District has started preliminary studies and discussions about the future physical space needs at the elementary center, which was built more than 20 years ago.

At a board of directors meeting in October 2021, district administrators presented the increasing enrollment numbers and space limitations at the elementary center. This year, the district has had to make creative modifications to the building’s classroom layout. Administrators envision a possible expansion of the elementary center to include dedicated spaces for additional learning support classrooms, speech/language areas, an enhanced technology classroom, a hearing/vision area and the addition of large group instruction rooms. Presently, spaces like shared group instruction areas and offices are being utilized for some of these special services while other special services teachers push into existing classrooms.

While discussions into the future needs of the building continue, the district’s board of directors approved core drilling work to begin on the elementary campus to provide a better picture of the elementary center property. Also, the district’s architect of record has been authorized to draft design plans which are scheduled to be presented to the board of directors in the spring for consideration and further discussion. If the project were to be approved later this year, work could begin in spring 2023. The district’s architect of record projects any potential project lasting three years from approval and bidding to closeout. In anticipation of a potential project, the district’s board of directors approved a $10 million bond in January 2022 at the suggestion of the district’s financial advisors to take advantage of lower borrowing rates.

Discussions, research and analysis will continue through the remaining winter months, as the district works to ensure the elementary center building continues to meet the needs of its youngest learners.
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