Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

BESPC lacks necessary space for education

September 6, 2007

When it comes to educational space, the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center is lacking, according to DLR Group architect Kevin Greischer.

The facilities committee heard the report at its monthly meeting Aug. 29. The report included the amount of educational space in each of the district's six buildings.

"I think the group got an opportunity to hear a report from the architect about our educational spaces, their uses, what we might be lacking and what we might be missing that is necessary for our needs," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "What he did was break down each building to us and gave suggestions how we might improve the educational programs we support."

The educational space was based on the amount of square footage per number of students in the buildings. The BESPC has the smallest ratio of the six buildings.

"I would say that the primary center has some significant physical needs," Dorathy said. "We're going to have to make a decision on that building one way or the other. Somewhere along the line, we are going to be making a decision about what is the best way to alleviate those needs.

"That could include doing some patching, which really isn't going to fix the need," Dorathy said. "Maybe it will be gutting the building and totally remodeling it, which is going to have one price tag. Or we could build a completely new building, which has lots of questions on top of that, such as the site. We've got a lot of questions to answer before we make that decision."

In his report, Greischer said BESPC has 239 students enrolled and has 29,000 square feet of space. That equates to 121 sq. feet per student, which is much lower than the three other elementary schools in the district.

Marion Springs Elementary School has 114 students, which includes the 4-year-old program students, and has 17,865 sq. footage in the building. That works out to be 156 sq. feet per student.

Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and Vinland Elementary School don't have any problem with educational space, according to Greischer report.

"It was interesting to see the amount of square footage that was put down there for each of the buildings," Dorathy said. "I wouldn't say I was surprised by any numbers, but I did find some of the information interesting."

According to Greischer's report, BESIC has 228 students in a building with 42,600 sq. feet. That amount of room equals out to be 186 sq. feet per student. The other elementary school, VES, houses 85 students in a 25,548 sq. foot building. VES has an average of 300 sq. feet per student.

"There are not a lot of things I would recommend to improve the educational space with the number of students that are in this building," Greischer said of VES.

The other two district buildings, Baldwin High School and Baldwin Junior High School, have a few issues with educational space, according to Greischer.

BHS has 420 students enrolled into a building with 99,878 sq. feet of space, which averages out to be 237 sq. feet per student. Greischer said 230-250 sq. feet per student is about average for high schools.

He said the space in the building is about right, but the kitchen and cafeteria areas need to be larger. Other than those two areas, he doesn't see much that needs improving.

"There are areas that we can modify to meet the population that you have in the building," Greischer said. "The classrooms aren't quite average for most schools, but they aren't that small either."

Greischer also said BJHS needs to enlarge its cafeteria and kitchen space to accommodate the student population. The school has 96,825 sq. feet for 330 students, which is 293 sq. feet per student.

"The building has a lot of square footage to it," Greischer said. "I would probably add 1,000 square feet to the cafeteria and kitchen. I would also add about 2,600 square feet to the library, which is only 1,400 sq. feet."

After the report, Greischer asked the facilities group several questions that were anonymously answered. He displayed the percentage for each answer to let everyone know the feelings of the group per question.

The facilities committee will again meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the District Office.

"I think we will start looking at other possible needs in the district, such as the ball fields, whether we need a track or a performing arts center," Dorathy said of the next meeting. "I think those issues will be discussed. I think we will start talking about resolutions to some of these needs and which ones are the most important to deal with now."

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