The Atlantic Community School District’s Board of Education Thursday night approved by a vote of 4-to 1, moving ahead with plans for a $19.8-million dollar Capital Improvements project that would include new construction and additional renovations to current district facilities. Board member Dennis Davis provided the lone no vote. The action came after discussion which lasted for about 55-minutes. The matter is expected to come before the voters in the form of a bond referendum on April 1st, 2014.
The Board had two concepts to choose from before making their final decision. The first would have cost a little more than $8-million. They chose the second, more costly option, based upon a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein, who said the proposal was based on input from faculty, staff, the administrators, school board discussions, and input from the community.
He proposed four new classrooms on the northeast side of the Washington Elementary School, which will provide space for the two Pre-school classes currently in place at the Old Lincoln School building, as well as space for the Special Education classroom. The second part of the concept is the addition of a new Middle School building (for grades 7 and 8) next to the High School. Amstein thinks that will provide enough instructional space for both grades, and a greater opportunity for students to take exploratory classes and achieve high school credit in the 8th grade, prior to attending high school.
The proposal also calls for the construction of eight new classrooms on the west side wings of the High School. Special Education classes would be housed in most of those classrooms, but some would serve as additional math and science space, and possibly a Career Tech Education classroom, as well as an expansion of the current art room. The concept also calls for the expansion and renovation of the Industrial Technology and Agricultural Education Lab. Plans also call for replacement of 18-year old heat pumps at the high school. Amstein says they typically have a service life of 15- to 18-years.
He says the plan would also require reconfiguration of the Schuler and Middle School buildings, but no new construction other than a possible renovation of the Level 3 Severe and Profound classroom at Schuler or the current Middle School. Amstein also recommended the Old Lincoln building house the Cass County Educational Opportunity Center (CCEOC), which was previously housed at that facility.
The earliest construction could begin if the project is approved by the voters on April 1st, is in the Summer of 2015.