Monday, October 6, 2008

Could Walker School stay open?

Rumors and emails floating out by some people eyeing the elementary school consolidation process suggest that there may be some tweaking to the plan after all.
Participants of the school building study task force were not too pleased with the prospect of Kimball Elementary having 500 children in the school. Some participants, including School Board member Laura Bonk, a consolidation supporter, stated that maybe the plan to close Walker school should be reconsidered.
On Sunday afternoon, David Greenwood sent out an email to some of the members expressing concern about having 500 students at the Kimball site.
"Currently the parent drop off on Rumford St. and pickup on Spring St. does not provide adequate and safe space for students to transition into the school. The new site does not allow for a new parent dropoff or pickup within the school yard. An increase of students on site that will be traveling from a greater distance will compound a problem that currently exists." he wrote.
Bonk then sent her own email on Sunday evening, stating: "I concur with David’s comments below ... This weekend, I spent time at Kimballl, Walker, and Conant Schools. Frankly, I have a lot of concerns about getting 500 students on to the Kimball site. It’s a tight squeeze and it may be an expensive option."
Bonk then suggested other options: "I’m starting to wonder about exploring other options for Concords Elementary Schools. a) 3 elementary campuses: Beaver Meadow, Conant, and Broken Ground. There is space at all 3 sites. There are also gyms, fields, and cafeterias. OR, b) 5 campuses: Beaver Meadow, Conant, Broken Ground, Kimball and Walker. Given the site limitations, the Kimball and Walker Schools will have to be about 200(?) students. Walker may have to be K-2 and Kimball 3-5. Both Walker and Kimball Schools need major upgrades and additions—functional heating systems, bathrooms, cafeteria, gyms, safe drop off points, among other items."
Many in the community are not only worried about the cost of all these new schools but also the importance of historical preservation of the city's aging school buildings. Others would like to see the buildings turned into for-profit entities at some point in order to expand the tax base. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out but it is a good sign that folks are thinking a bit deeper about the idea.


Trish said...

It's good to see that the school board is still considering their plan to consolidate. I'm relieved, actually.

Ben Venator said...

Is it easy to find what the updated cost of consolidation is compared to maintaining the status quo? It could be that higher energy costs is making consolidation more cost competitive with the status quo, but I am not sure.

Anonymous said...

28 million for Conant and Kimball. Still waiting for cost of renovating as opposed to building.