When they met Monday, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education helped narrow the number of options for the firm working on a long-range facilities plan for the school district.
Board members were presented four concepts by Kirk Horner and Megan Warner of Hollis + Miller Architects. The concepts offered suggestions for dealing with future changes in enrollment.
Board members expressed support for two of the concepts. One focuses on creating a new intermediate school as enrollment increases either through the renovation of West Intermediate School or the construction of a new building.
The other concept that was popular with board members would create what Warner described as a "mega middle school" for students in grades five through eight.
"That allows us to drill down even farther," Horner said of the selection of the two favorite concepts.
He said this narrowing of options will make it easier to look at certain costs associated with the plans.
Superintendent Kelly Crane previously has said the purpose of the long-range facility planning process is not a bond issue. She said the plans developed from the process can provide blueprints for the future.
Warner said Monday that the new intermediate school option, or what she called the "New West" concept, was the most popular proposal with members of the school district staff.
This plan would keep the grade configuration currently used in the district.
Crane said a new intermediate school could be built at the West site next to the existing building. The old building then could be torn down once the new one was completed.
Board member Loyal Torkelson asked how much it would cost to renovate the existing West building.
The Hollis + Miller representatives said the estimated cost is between $13 million and $14 million. They said the estimated cost for constructing a new intermediate building is $23 million.
The "Mega Middle" school plan calls for the construction of a new building next to Richard W. Warren Middle School to accommodate the switch to a fifth- through eighth-grade middle school concept. Under such a scenario, the West building would no longer be used as a school.
The district would have to acquire additional land around Warren that's currently used by the city.
One of the options that wasn't popular with board members would create an grade configuration with a fourth- and fifth-grade intermediate school. The current configuration uses a fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school.
The other option that wasn't popular with board members is what Warner referred to as the "Traditional" concept. This would create a grade configuration with a middle school for students in grades six through eight.
Page 2 of 2 - "This one was very disliked by staff," Warner said.
Crane said she also would like board members to consider the discrepancies in enrollment at the elementary schools. She said Earl M. Lawson Elementary has a smaller enrollment than the other schools in the district.
The "New West" concept has plans for either building a new elementary building or adding on to some of the elementary schools. The "Mega Middle" school concept includes plans for adding on to the elementary buildings.
The next step in the long-range planning process is adopting the best plan, according to the Hollis + Miller officials.