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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Vision for Monett Elementary School changes taking shape

Monday, December 21, 2009

The above view of the Monett Elementary School, looking west from Linden Avenue, at bottom, shows the architect's vision of how the campus will be changed in the planned construction. The administration office and the other classroom building at the current entrance, shown at lower left, will be removed in the plan.
The vision for changing Monett Elementary School got the green light from the Monett R-1 Board of Education at the December board meeting. Shaping input from previous sessions, architect Pam Haldiman from Sapp Design Associates brought renderings that showed dramatic changes to the existing campus.

The board has sought a multi-phase strategy for enclosing the campus for security purposes and to consolidate functions to limit time spent walking across the grounds. The latest drawings show innovative ways to achieve the board's goals.

"We're feeling good about what we're seeing," said Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann. "What we've seen in this design is traffic flow around the entire campus, the ability to expand the campus and keep it under roof and the ability to grow with us in the future."

The plan builds around shifting the main entrance of the school to the current bus entrance on the north side, off Learning Lane. Buses will let off students at an enclosed entrance at the same location, leading inside to a commons room that is now a network of outdoor sidewalks. The school office will be moved to the east side of the new entrance area.

In a further effort to pull functions within the school closer together, two new additions are proposed. Both will extend like wings out from the central building.

The biggest addition will stretch from the new office along the edge of the current hillside beside the driveway. The other wing would extend to the northwest, sticking out from the corner of the current gymnasium. The two additions create a "V" shape, wrapping around the entrance.

The big wing along the hillside is the key addition. Near the office will be added the proposed storm shelter, a large room that will double as the school gymnasium. Nine additional classrooms will fill the rest of the wing.

Jungmann explained that the new storm shelter/gym, large enough to hold students and residents from the nearby neighborhood, will allow the current gym to be converted into the school library. The current library will then switch to its secondary function as the music room.

Enclosed hallways will be built along the length of the north building. Bathroom areas in each classroom now will be converted into entrances off joint hallways. The separate buildings housing the current library with the current cafeteria will be merged.

A new road will be built from Learning Lane to what is now the main school entrance. Buses will use the new road as their primary exit onto Linden Avenue. The road will serve as a gated parking lot for buses and double as playground area during the day.

The current administration building will no longer be needed and will be removed, Jungmann said. The building next to it, currently housing classes for several grade levels, will come out as well, to be used for parking.

The wing of classrooms along the south side of the campus will remain separated from the rest of the buildings. It will become a center for pre-kindergarten classes and activities, containing adequate room for significant future growth, Jungmann said.

Four classrooms from the south wing closer to the old office will come out for a new circle drive. Parents will be able to pick up pre-kindergarten children from a new location, while parents of older children not using buses can drive up to the new main entrance.

The current pre-kindergarten building on the southeast corner of the campus does not fit into the overall design. As a newer building, Jungmann said the structure still has value. Its function will be determined later.

Worked into the design is a new vision for parking. Jungmann said the current north parking lot will be asphalted and striped in a north-south arrangement, opposite to the east-west pattern now used. It will be arranged to hold more spaces than are currently used. Circle Drive by the current entrance will be expanded into a large parking area for faculty, absorbing much of the front lawn.

The playground on the north side of the campus will have to be moved to the east, Jungmann said, to make room for the new classroom wing.

"The Sapp team did a really good job of using every inch and every foot of this entire site to make it a great campus for many years," Jungmann said. "We hope the public will be excited like the board as to what the campus can mean for the community and our kids."

The board directed Haldiman to proceed with creating building specifications for bid. The first phase will enclose the older north classroom wing, which will become home for first grade and ancillary classes. Included is the new wing with the storm shelter, which will become the kindergarten section.

The new six-classroom wing on the northwest corner, designated for second grade, will not be in the first stage. Jungmann said later construction will also include adding two more classrooms to fill in the space between the present north wing and the library wing.

Plans call for adding two more classrooms onto the end of both new wings in time. Running an enclosed corridor from the pre-kindergarten wing to the main building is also in to extended plans.

"We'll do it in three phases at maximum, hopefully in two, depending on the bids," Jungmann said. "We'll bid phase one, have phase two as an alternate and plan for phase three two to three years down the road.

"The board is excited about the overall plan. We hope the public will be excited like the board as to what the campus can mean for the community and our kids," the superintendent added.

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