Members of the Monett Kiwanis Club toured the new buildings at Monett Elementary School as part of their Tuesday noon meeting this week.
Dr. John Jungmann, Monett R-1 school superintendent, said a lot of exciting things were happening at Monett Schools. Opening of Monett Elementary this week capped a busy summer for Principal Susie Gasser, who led the tour.
Gasser explained how the renovation plan on the campus combins nine buildings into two over the three phases of construction. The campus used to have 50 doors leading to the outside. Now most are under one roof, accessed through a central entrance next to the office.
The new security arrangement allows all of the exterior doors to be locked each day at 8:05 a.m. Arrivals at the main entrance will not have access to the commons room but can use a side door that leads into the office. In case of a fire, all the doors open from the inside. Teachers have access with use of a card.
Because construction came in under budget, Gasser said two additional classrooms were added for the projected price. The kitchen underwent significant expansion, especially in the storage area.
Kiwanians toured the new school gym, which doubles as a storm shelter. Gasser said the gym will hold around 1,200 people in a storm, with each person having five square feet of space. The room is sufficient for all the Monett Elementary students and residents within a half-mile radius. The goal is to be able to have the entire school population in the gym within five minutes.
Both the police and fire departments have keys to the storm shelter. In an emergency after school hours, Gasser said city emergency responders will open the shelter and leave once an administrator for the school arrives to take charge.
Construction on the second phase involving the second grade wing is expected to be done this fall. Work is not expected to disrupt classes.
Between 700 and 800 people attended the open house at Monett Elementary on Monday. The Kiwanis Club was the first civic group to receive a tour. Kiwanians commented on the wide, brightly lit hallways with colored tiles. The new flooring in the hallways and commons area drew attention because no wax is required for maintenance.
The cafeteria is large enough to hold all the students for meals, Gasser said. The commons area outside the cafeteria has room for tables, but presently there are no plans for activities in the central location.
In club news, members will be contacting local businesses and industries about purchasing advanced tickets for the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus. The club is sponsoring two circus performances on Sept. 14. Tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children. Eric Kean is the project chairman.
The Kiwanis installation banquet for the coming year has been scheduled for Sept. 27.
The Monett Kiwanis Club meets at noon on Tuesdays for a meal and a program.