The architectural firm of Martin-Boal-Anthony-Johnson has developed an artistâ€™s rendering of the proposed elementary school, which would be built in west Lincoln County if a $47 million bond referendum is passed on May 6. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
After listening to the opinions of teachers, parents and principals, architects have formed a visual image of the proposed elementary school in west Lincoln County.
â€œI think itâ€™s part of our obligation to at least show them whatâ€™s being proposed,â€ said Superintendent Jim Watson of voters.
â€œThis is an artistâ€™s rendering. The colors and all that stuff may change, but itâ€™s always good to get people to see something.â€
The proposed elementary school is part of a $47 million bond referendum, which Lincoln County residents will vote on May 4.
The bond also includes a middle school in central Lincoln County, expansions of three high schools, renovations and repairs to existing schools and an East Lincoln Middle School sewer project.
An interactive design team made up of parents, students and principals visited several examples of new elementary schools over the past few months.
They then told architects what they felt was important to include in the proposed elementary school, which would relieve overcrowding in the west.
Union and North Brook Elementary Schools are both overcrowded and Love Memorial Elementary is at itâ€™s capacity.
â€œOf all the projects, this elementary school is probably the most critical because itâ€™s addressing a very severe overcrowded situation at Union as well as the other schools in the western part of the county,â€ said Watson.
Union is currently the most overcrowded school in the county. The school was designed for 500 students and currently houses 640.
â€œThe obvious thing is that itâ€™s really cost us in space and flexibility with space,â€ said Kirby Oldham, principal of Union Elementary.
Every classroom in the school has been filled as have five mobile units. Classes are even being taught on stage in the schoolâ€™s auditorium.
The overcrowded conditions also affect scheduling. In order to get all the students fed, lunch starts at 10:30 a.m. and goes as long as 1:30 p.m.
â€œPeople have been very kind and understanding and flexible with that,â€ said Oldham.
Denise Patterson, principal of North Brook, also deals with an extended lunch, but her main concern is finding room for student tutoring.
North Brook added an additional 26 students last year, and projections have them adding another 26 next year.
â€œWeâ€™ve managed it well with our space,â€ said Patterson. â€œWeâ€™ve utilized it as properly as we can.â€
An elementary school in the west was originally considered for a 2000 bond referendum. If the May bond referendum does pass, it could take years before the elementary school has been completed.â€œIf they had done it then that school actually would be open, and we would have been able to address this,â€ said Watson. â€œNow for the next few years, I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™m going to do.â€ by Sarah Grano