Project would add class space, parking and safety at HES

hes concept.jpg
hes concept.jpg
Hillsboro Elementary School floor plan, with additions
hes site plan.jpg
This site plan for Hillsboro Elementary School shows the area for 46 parking spaces to the far left (west) boundary as well as the new parking lot and traffic drop-off loop planned for east of the present building. The existing circle drive will be used for bus drop-off, no private vehicles allowed.
More classroom space, an improved kitchen and dining room, and a safer traffic flow with more parking spaces are the primary objectives for changes planned at Hillsboro Elementary School.

USD 410 Superintendent Gordon Mohn said even though the public hears about declining enrollment, having adequate classroom space promises to be a problem in the near future.

?Right now, if we add all-day kindergarten, and keep class sizes the size they are, we don?t have classrooms to put them in,? Mohn said.

?A simple solution would be to increase class size, go from three sections to two sections, and save some teacher costs and save classroom costs,? he added. ?But the board and community have put a pretty high priority on having smaller class sizes. So this allows for that.?

To address the space issue, this portion of the project would relocate the current elementary office and teacher work area to the space currently occupied by the central office.

The central office, in turn, would be relocated, which is addressed in a different component of the total project.

The area presently used for the elementary office and workroom would be converted to an art and music facility, which allows the current music room to be used as a regular classroom.

The second structural issue addresses the current school kitchen and dining area.

?We have lunch where we have PE (physical education), and we have a 1960s kitchen?it?s just too small,? Mohn said.

A new kitchen and dining room facility would be built onto the southeast corner of the present facility and the old kitchen would be renovated for storage.

Mohn said the new dining area would serve multiple purposes.

?It will be a dining area, a student-gathering area?a place where we can have assemblies with kids,? he said.

?It will be acoustically better than the gym so kids can hear,? he added. ?I, personally, would like to carpet it, but that will kind of be a battle because having lunch on carpet isn?t great.?

?But they do have carpet now that is almost stain-proof. You glue the carpet to the floor and, if you get a bad spot, you cut the circle out and put a new one in. You can?t even see that you?ve done it.

?I?d like to do it for acoustics and for warmth,? he said. ?For little kids sitting on the floor, that?s better than cold tile.?

Traffic flow and parking would be revamped with the changes planned for outside the building. The safety of students is a primary concern.

?Traffic flow and parking is another evident need that we hear a lot about,? Mohn said. ?I?ve kind of told people that I?m generally pretty laid back and don?t lay awake at night about a lot of things. But (child safety is) one thing I occasionally at night wake up about. We?re really courting a disaster.?

Key components of the strategy would be, first, to limit the current circle drive to loading and unloading schoolbuses at the start and end of the day.

The second component would be the development of a parking lot with 66 spaces directly east of the new kitchen and dining area, and also create a traffic loop between the building and the parking lot for parents to drop off and pick up kids.

Mohn said he realizes it will take some time to train parents to a new routine.

?We?re going to have work on training people, first of all, not to do the convenient, natural thing of letting kids off (in the circle drive),? he said. ?We may even put some barriers there before and after schools so people can?t get in there.?

The plan also would ban parking along A Street in front of the school. To fill the parking void, the plan calls for the development of about 40 long-term parking spaces along the west bound?ary of the school property, and the addition of some short-term parking spaces within the circle drive area.

?We?re going to create some short-term visitor parking (in the circle drive), so if you need to bring your kids? lunch money in, or the jacket they forgot, you can park there,? he said. ?It will have a 10- to 15-minute limit and then you have to be out of there.?

Mohn said even though the new traffic-flow strategy would be a huge improvement over the current situation, it can?t guarantee child safety.

?When parents are here, we?re going to have to control kids from walking across (the traffic loop) because they know mom or dad are parked in the east parking lot. It?s not going to make it fail-safe. We?re going to have to do some training. But that?s part of the plan.?

The projected cost for these changes is $1.692 million.

Next: Changes at the high school.

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