Sioux City school board faces deadline for new schools
Current Washington Elementary exterior
Old and outdated. Two words that describe Washington Elementary school in Morningside. Built in 1921, school officials say it needs to be replaced.
But, when, and how? That was one of a handful of plans the Sioux City school board went over during a work session, Thursday morning.
"We are pretty tight for space. We will commonly store instruments, maybe just outside the classroom in the hallway just because we don't have a lot of space," Dawn Stansbury, Principal of Washington Elementary School said.
In other words, the 91-year-old Washington Elementary School simply isn't big enough anymore. That's why the district is planning to build a new Washington Elementary, one that will house as many as 555 students.
"Everybody is very excited about it, and over the summer the staff began to clean out some of the things in the room knowing that they would probably have to move to another location while they are building our new school," Stansbury said.
The School Board will be taking a vote Monday to accept a contract with architecture firm FEH Associates to manage construction of the new Washington. The designs are based on the recently opened Spaulding Park Elementary. And as those plans get further along, the district is now looking at construction for another school with the Hoover Project.
"We are making a recommendation to the board that we actually construct a school on the Hoover Campus, we have a 25-acre plot of land there that we already own, no homes are required and we believe we can build a school in the range of 600-650 students there," Dr. Paul Gausman, Sioux City Community District Superintendent.
Their possible plan calls for construction of a new school campus to combine Clark, Crescent Park, Lincoln, and a portion of Bryant to serve students in 1st through 5th grade. Another possibility? Construction of an early childhood center at Clark. That center would serve about 260 students in pre-school and kindergarten. If these new schools sound unusually big, there's an explanation.
"Part of the driving factor is that we only have so much sales tax money available we can't do a one-to-one replacement on the 19 elementary schools that we had, we're doing a replacement schedule that typically brings two schools into one, or three schools into one, to make that happen," Superintendent Gausman said.
And while the size of these schools may be surprising, Superintendent Paul Gausman says, it shouldn't compromise the district's education standards.
"Our feedback has been very positive and our student achievement data related to that has shown that at least up until the size we've been building right now a little larger then we've been used to has not had a negative impact on student achievement either," Superintendent Gausman said.
He also says in many cases, parents are even choosing to bring their kids to the larger schools over smaller ones. The Sioux City Community School Board will vote on the two recommendations on Monday.
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