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Natural light, safety highlight new design...

An architect’s rendering of a Kenmare school addition should a bond issue pass March 17, shows an abundance of natural light.

3/03/20 (Tue)

An architect’s rendering of a Kenmare school addition should a bond issue pass March 17, shows an abundance of natural light.

According to Superintendent Dr. Tim Godfrey, the design is a possibility of what a school addition might look like. It hasn’t been approved by the school board, but school board members are endorsing it.

“It let’s the public see what’s possible,” Godfrey said. “There’s lots of windows and currently, there’s not a lot of natural light.”

Godfrey says research shows that kids function far better throughout the day with abundant natural light.

“That’s a huge component,” he said. “Right now, in the interior classrooms, there are no windows.”

Thus, when you look at the design adjacent to the existing building, you’ll see a lot windows in that elementary addition and in the back where a new gym would be located.

JLG Architects put the design together, which has been shown at the last two public meetings because the school board wanted a three-dimension design to show people what the school might look like should the $11.9 million bond issue pass.

There’s a skylight above the proposed flex learning area, there are windows above the area where the gym meets the existing buildings and windows on either side above the gym.

The lights aren’t the only benefits to a better learning, according to Godfrey. He said one of the biggest benefits will be a controlled entrance to enter the school’s office and enter the building.

School board President Blaine Huff said classrooms immediately off the main entrances will be converted to high school and elementary administration areas in which visitors will have to check in before gaining access to the building.

As far as the existing administration offices, Huff suggested turning it into a store of Honker products that the FBLA would run to gain business experience.

He said that’s not a certainty, but it is being considered.

There will also be some remodeling in the kitchen to accommodate all the students Huff said it will bring the kitchen up to code and into the 21st century.

Otherwise, the existing classrooms will largely remain the same.

“In the end, it’s about the students,” Godfrey said. “Parents want what’s best for their kids and they’re starting to feel it.”

The design was shown Sunday during a community meeting and was essentially a summary of what had been discussed the previous week.

During Sunday’s meeting, however, Godfrey said he did some examples on the tax calculator and one individual actually brought his taxes to the meetings and Godfrey ran the numbers.

And after Sunday, he maintains his overall tax will increase 18 percent.

The above design is a possible design and if the bond issues passes, the board will meet with the general contractor and prioritize the construction moving forward. If it meets budget, it will proceed to the next step.

For Huff, the design is essentially what it would look like should the addition be built. The inside, however, is another matter. He said the design was done now so people know what they can expect.

“We’ve got a couple of different concepts that we like,” he said. “It may not be 100 percent like this, but it’s going to be close to that.

Huff also likes the window idea because we all function better when we have sunlight available to us.

“The big goal is to get everybody natural light,” he said. “Kids are more vibrant and active during the day with sunlight. Having the kids in classrooms with windows will get them exposed to more natural light.”

Huff also wanted to address some of the community meeting comments regarding increased taxation on farmland. He said taxes will always be paid whether the land is owned or rented. They may be delayed, but they will always be paid.

Two more community meetings are scheduled leading up to the bond issue vote on March 17. Sunday’s meeting will be held in St. Agnes Catholic Church at 5 p.m., and the final meeting will be Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m., in Kenmare High School.

“Everybody go vote,” Huff said. “We need to get everybody out. It’s crucial. It’s been so close the past two times. We need everybody to vote.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!