The Greencastle-Antrim School Board's facilities committee saw a sampling of space issues during a brief tour of the primary school last week before hearing from representatives of the architectural firm Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates about setting long-range goals.
The next step is to prioritize district needs and a more formal presentation is planned at the Nov. 15 school board work session, according to Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent.
The classroom next to the library at the primary school, already divided in two by a temporary wall, is being separated into three sections to accommodate the third reading specialist, who currently works in the conference room.
"You can imagine how tight it is," said Dr. Jolinda "JC" Wilson, chief financial officer.
Storage is squeezed in everywhere, including shelving in stairwells and hallways, and the English as a Second Language class is housed in a janitor's closet on the second floor. The guidance office shares space with the sensory room for emotional support students.
"We've used all the space we can," Wilson said. "We're creating spaces, but that's a Band-Aid and still costs money."
"We've reconfigured, but that didn't add square footage," added Dr. Robert Crider, chief educational officer.
Wilson said the district is trying to put together three-, five- and 10-year plans, but some problems can't be held off. For example, the middle school roof definitely needs to be addressed and there are some roofing issues at the high school, too.
Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates has met with administrators and teachers and looked at the buildings to help with decision-making and prioritization for long-range planning, said John Levato.
Components of those processes include educational program and vision; constraints of buildings and long-term space needs; enrollment and capacity; facilities assessment; project scope and budget; and timeline.
That information will help determine direction and the necessary funding for what needs to be done in zero to two years vs. five to 10 years, as well as the projects with the greatest need and the greatest impact.
"We don't have design concepts, it's about establishing need," Levato said.
Questions include: How many students can the buildings accommodate? Is there adequate space for programs and students? Is there space to grow and offer new programs?
His colleague, Larry Beddia, mentioned that some of today's needs, such as more room for nursing, guidance and intervention, were not even anticipated when the buildings were constructed.
Levato talked about getting the school board, staff, administrators, students and the community to share their visions for projects done in other communities.
"Twenty-first century learning is not always about more square footage," he said, citing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum, collaborative learning and maker's space.
A lot of districts are repurposing existing with movable partitions so classes can come together in open, flexible spaces and movable furniture.
Contact Shawn Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-597-2164