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Archive for Topic: 'Facilities'

Planning Continues on Renovation of Four Elementary Buildings

Planning continues for the renovation of four elementary next year with construction tentatively scheduled to occur during late spring/summer of 2018.

Shive-Hattery architects have developed preliminary timelines to renovate Clive Learning Academy, Crestview School of Inquiry, Western Hills Elementary, and Westridge Elementary.

The timeline includes creating project designs in May 2017, with construction documents developed during the summer and early fall. The project will be submitted to construction contractors for pricing in the fall.

Through its six-month facility study, Shive-Hattery architects identified these four schools as needing immediate changes to meet the learning needs of students.

In general, this renovation work includes providing more space for Core Plus instruction (English language instruction, extended learning instruction, and more). This timeline offers the best opportunity to receive competitive pricing for the construction work and to avoid disrupting instruction during the school year by scheduling interior work during the summer months.

Topics: Facilities

Four Schools Proposed for Renovation, Long-Term Planning Continues

Four elementary schools may receive renovations next year as the district continues to study how it can improve facilities to meet the changing learning needs of students.

Addressing Immediate Elementary Schools Needs

At a special workshop on Sunday, Jan. 22, WDMCS Board of Education members asked the district administration and Shive-Hattery architects to develop possible timelines to renovate Clive Learning Academy, Crestview School of Inquiry, Western Hills Elementary, and Westridge Elementary.

Through its six-month facility study, Shive-Hattery architects identified these four schools as needing immediate changes to meet the learning needs of students.

Some district buildings were designed decades ago primarily for “core instruction,” which is instruction with all students in a general education setting. Today, more students receive “core-plus” instruction, such as English language or extended learning instruction. In some buildings, space is not designed for this shift, and teachers are meeting with students in hallways or former storage areas.

“I am worried about our elementary schools and their capacities right now, and it is not something we can wait on,” said School Board member Jill Caton Johnson, Ph.D.

A proposal for these elementary schools will be presented to the School Board at an upcoming meeting.

A Visionary Look

The School Board members determined they will also continue its more comprehensive facility study to determine a long-term facilities plan.

This includes reviewing the various space and building configuration options previously presented by Shive-Hattery.

“We need a plan and vision,” said School Board Vice President Melinda Dunnwald. “We need to have conversations with the city, the Chamber of Commerce, and we need to get the right stakeholders involved to do this right to save taxpayers dollars and be visionaries.”

Board members indicated they would like to hold future special facilities-focused workshops, with dates to be set at a later time.

Facilities & Funding

During the meeting, West Des Moines Community Schools Chief Financial Officer Paul Bobek provided an overview of construction funding available compared to the estimated cost for three facilities plan proposals previously presented by Shive-Hattery.

Based on several assumptions, he estimates the money the district currently receives through sales taxes and the Physical Plan & Equipment Levy (PPEL) is insufficient to pay for Option 1 and Option 3 as presented. He said the district would have enough funds for Option 2, but may still need to issue bonds to accommodate cash flow. He noted that this only takes into account construction-related costs and does not take into account ongoing operational costs.

For background information on this plan, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities.

Topics: Facilities

Board Holds Final Meeting in Facilities Workshop Series

Facilities study image 2aThe West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will hold the final meeting in its series of special workshops to study facility use in the district.

The final scheduled workshop will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

This meeting is open to the public.

The meeting agenda is available at http://bit.ly/WDMCSBoardMeetings.

For background on this study, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities.

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Topics: Facilities

School Board Reviews Second Phase of Facilities Study

At a special meeting in December, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education reviewed the findings of the second phase of an elementary school space utilization study by architects at Shive-Hattery.

The architects further studied how the possible removal of sixth grade and preschool from the elementary schools would affect building space availability and usage. The study also focused on the viability of removing media centers and computer labs, contingent on providing computer devices for each student.

Based on interviews with the leadership teams, teaching staff, and parents from each of the elementary schools, as well as junior high administrators, the architects presented a brief summary of the findings for each school. Those findings included information on the redistribution of areas at each building.

Estimated construction and operational costs were also provided for three different options:

  • Option 1—Relocate Sixth Grade: Provide for Core Plus space, provide secure entrances for elementary and junior high schools, sixth grade moves out of elementary, new 8/9 grade site with shop/makerspace and field house would be $83.8 million with $1.15 million ongoing operational costs.
  • Option 2—Sixth Grade Remains: Secure entries, flex spaces, and renovations would be $53.5 million with $389,015 ongoing operational costs
  • Option 3—Add Flex Space to Existing Elementaries: additional square footage for flex space would be $82.4 million with $650,645 ongoing operational costs.

It was also noted that a new preschool center would be an estimated $9.34 million in construction costs and $1.0 million in operational costs.

The next step is to compare these estimates with the district’s 10-Year Facilities Plan budget. For more information and background on the district’s facilities plan, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities/.

Topics: Facilities

School Board to Continue Facilities Discussion at Special Workshop

Facilities study image 2aThe West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study various space allocation
options, including moving sixth grade and preschool out of district elementary schools, at a special workshop session at 5:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering will present estimates for construction and ongoing operational costs associated with the space allocation options.

The meeting agenda is available at http://bit.ly/WDMCSBoardMeetings.

An additional workshop is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m., at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

For background on this study, please visit www.wdmcs.org/category/facilities.

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Topics: Facilities

Board Continues to Study Moving Sixth Grade, Preschool

Facilities study image: Image of building ceiling with district logo and the words "Board Studies Learning Spaces."

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study various space allocation options, including moving sixth grade and preschool out of district elementary schools.

During a special workshop session held Oct. 30, the School Board asked Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering to return in December with estimates for construction and ongoing operational costs associated with such moves.

Members agreed that no decision can be made at this time without further information.

 

Initial Feedback Shows Support for Moving Sixth Grade Out of Elementary Schools

The School Board reviewed preliminary feedback gathered by Shive-Hattery this fall from groups of teachers, parents, and administrators at each elementary school. The preliminary feedback shows support for moving sixth grade out of the elementary and combining seventh- and eighth-graders together.

Space Utilization Summary (PDF)

The four main themes that arose from the group discussions included:

  • developmental disparity (the academic or social development of sixth graders compared to fifth graders and seventh graders),
  • scheduling classes,
  • curriculum style, and
  • teacher endorsement.

Shive-Hattery Architect Joe Benesh said there is no evidence that shows sixth-graders perform better academically when grouped with seventh-graders than with fifth-graders. However, the groups of teachers, parents, and administrators at each school reported that they believe there is a difference between the socialization of sixth-graders when they are grouped with seventh-graders versus fifth-graders. They said moving sixth-graders out of the elementary school was a good idea not just from a space usage standpoint, but also from a socialization standpoint. Shive-Hattery Architect Michelle Huggins reported some parent representatives said the district’s K-6 structure is a unique feature that could appeal to some families.

The school groups reported scheduling classes and the K-5 grade span of the core standards are a challenge with the current structure. Teacher endorsements were an initial concern, but it was reported that most teacher certification covers a K-8 span.

 

Feedback Mixed for Moving Preschool Out of Elementary Schools

The school groups’ feedback about moving preschool out the elementary schools was mixed, Benesh reported. The groups from Crestview School of Inquiry, Crossroads Park Elementary, and Fairmeadows Elementary were not in favor of moving preschool programming out of the elementary school when considering the integration of students, preschool teacher collaboration, and the transition to kindergarten.

Space Utilization Summary (PDF)

Crestview reported that moving the preschool program out of an elementary school’s neighborhood to a central district location would be a barrier for families who have limited or no transportation options. In addition, they reported that it is beneficial for preschool students and families to become familiar with the school building prior to kindergarten.

Those schools in favor of a central preschool location noted instruction could benefit because teacher collaboration would be easier.

Nearly all schools were in favor of providing childcare services before and after the half-day preschool program.

 

Upcoming Meetings & Further Study

The October 30 meeting was the second of three special workshop sessions scheduled to review the district’s 10-year facility plan. The remaining workshops are scheduled for:

  • December 5, 2016, 5:15-7:30 p.m., at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines
  • NEW DATE! December 19, 2016, 5:15-7:30 p.m., at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines
  • January 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m., at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines

For background on this study, please visit:

Facilities Projects – Updates

Topics: Facilities, School Board News

Tiger Field Renovation Update

The $3.3 million renovation of Valley High School’s Tiger Field is expected to be completed mid-November.

The track surfacing was recently completed and striping will begin the week of Oct. 31. The new synthetic multi-purpose field was recently tested for its shock-absorption properties, which tested at an average value of 104.86, well within the requirement of 160 or less.

Tiger Field serves as a physical education and competition space for high school students during the day. Seasonal sports and local groups use the field in the evening and on weekends.

The field renovation project also includes:

  • new sports field lighting;
  • new bleachers and press box;
  • new long jump runways;
  • and the addition of two new shot put rings.

Due to damage to water lines west of the new field, the district will install a new irrigation system, which is an addition to the original project.

The district is paying for the Tiger Field renovation project with sales tax funds, which cannot pay for general fund expenses like teacher and staff salaries or educational programming.

Topics: Facilities

School Board to Discuss Facilities at Special Workshop

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will continue to study school building needs at a special workshop at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, at the Learning Resource Center. This meeting is open to the public.

WDMCS is working with architects from Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering of West Des Moines to explore new ways to use space in our school buildings to support learning.

The School Board has tentatively scheduled additional workshop sessions to continue its study.

  • December 5, 2016, 5:15-7 p.m.
  • January 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m.

 

School Board Meeting Materials

WDMCS 10-Year Facilities Plan

Latest Updates on Facilities & Planning

 

 

Topics: Facilities, School Board News

District Explores New Grade Configurations & Space Usage

Teachers and parent group representatives from each WDMCS elementary and junior high school and Valley Southwoods will meet with architects from Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering over the next few months to explore new ways to use space in our school buildings to support learning.

Specifically, the architects will gather feedback on the following preliminary concepts:

  • moving sixth grade out of the elementary and combining grades six and seven together,
  • combining grades eight and nine at Valley Southwoods,
  • providing half-day preschool programming at each elementary school, and/or
  • providing preschool programming with wrap-around child care services at one early childcare center possibly at Valley Southwoods.

During a work session on Sept. 11, 2016, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education directed Shive-Hattery to explore the preliminary concepts’ and their impact on the learning environment.

The concepts are based on a facility assessment Shive-Hattery conducted this summer. Architects interviewed principals at our eight elementary schools to understand how teachers use building space for instruction. They presented their assessment report at the August 8, 2016, School Board work session.

The School Board members directed the architects and the district to only explore and study possible options to improve space usage at this time. The Board set a tentative schedule to review the architect’s research and continue discussing facilities and space usage:

  • October 30, 2016, 1-4 p.m.
  • December 5, 2016, 5:15-7 p.m.
  • January 22, 2017, 1-3 p.m.

Topics: Facilities

WDMCS Reviewing Upgrades to School Buildings

Your student may spend up to seven hours each day in one of our school buildings. So it’s likely no surprise that a school’s “brick and mortar” can affect a child’s learning.

Buildings can create a sense of community and give students space to explore and collaborate.

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is working with Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering of West Des Moines to see if our elementary buildings enhance or encumber instruction.  

This summer, Shive-Hattery architects interviewed principals and teachers in our eight elementary schools to understand how they use building space for instruction.

“Looking at the amount of square footage each building has per student is not an accurate measurement,” said Joseph Benesh, senior architect at Shive-Hattery. “How a space is used and its layout are more important.”

The architects learned some of our buildings need space that is more flexible or can support collaboration.

According to Shive-Hattery Architect Michelle Huggins, some of our buildings were designed decades ago primarily for “core instruction,” which is instruction with all students in a general education setting. Today, more students need “core-plus” instruction, such as English language instruction. In some buildings, the space is not designed for this shift, and teachers are meeting with students in hallways or former storage areas.

The architects presented their study to the Board of Education during a workshop session on August 8, 2016. Some of their preliminary suggestions are:

  • reallocation of computer labs, media centers, and common areas
  • special consideration at Westridge Elementary and Crestview School of Inquiry
  • Kids West component of study
  • reallocation of space at Hillside Elementary
  • a preschool center
  • sixth-grade addition to Indian Hills/Stilwell Junior High schools to combine to a grade 6-7 academy and creation of a grade 8-9 academy at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School.
  • relocated preschool and sixth-grade addition to existing buildings
  • building additions at each elementary school

A summary of their findings is available in the workshop meeting minutes. Click on the “10-Year Facilities Plan—Update” agenda item for the full minutes.

The School Board with meet again to discuss the recommendations at a special workshop at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Schools across Iowa make long-term plans for building maintenance and upgrades due to state funding set aside specifically for building renovations. The money primarily comes from our state’s sales tax. One cent of every dollar collected by the state through  the sales tax goes toward school building maintenance, renovations, or new construction. We can not use these funds for the general costs to operate our schools as they are primarily intended for buildings.

Topics: Facilities