Strengths, weaknesses cited in school facilities

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Evaluation points to assets, shortfalls at each campus

On the eve of the Monett school board deciding on whether or not to pursue a bond issue for new construction, facilities director Steve Garner presented his overview of building resources.

Garner, assisted by the building administrators, noted their objectives included maintaining buildings and grounds “to create a safe and orderly environment” for students, staff and visitors. They also wanted their facilities and grounds to be “a source of pride for the community.”

Garner and colleagues praised the custodial department for the cleanliness of the buildings. Since taking the support services back after canceling the maintenance contract with Aramark, Garner said the custodial department has become stronger. Moreover, he continued, working for the school “is viewed as a desirable workplace due to a revised salary schedule.”

Each campus received a review of strength and weaknesses in the report.

At Monett Elementary, the report cited campus strengths as the width of hallways, visibility of doors by the front office staff, appearance of the building both inside and out, added class space through restructuring, and the outdoor classroom as a resource. Concerns included the need for an upgrade on the playground on the south side of the campus, a lack of parking for events, and traffic access to the new Monett Regional Learning Center on the southwest side of the campus. Though the campus has a wing of unused buildings on its south side, without those classes, separated from the rest of the campus, the present complex of classrooms and auxiliary spaces are being used at capacity, offering no room for further growth.

Central Park Elementary, the report noted, has particular strength in the size of its classrooms, a compact building that lends itself to collaborative communication between faculty, and its location in a neighborhood, a friendly environment compared to buildings in a set aside location. The report cited the upgraded gym, expanded office space and strong technology resources as particular assets.

Concerns for the campus pointed to inadequate parking, having only one lot for around 30 vehicles, a playground that has limited space and equipment, as well as lawn. Stormwater run-off remains an ongoing issue, creating water obstacles in front of the campus. Dismissing students also presents challenges working within limited space.

At Monett Intermediate, the campus location next to the E.E. Camp gym and Burl Fowler Stadium provides an abundance of parking options. Likewise, the old Jaycee practice field, where the earlier football field had been located, provides a spacious playground. Classroom sizes in the building that once served as the Southwest Area Career Center, have been made large. Classrooms are located near the FEMA storm shelter, used as the campus cafeteria. The entrance to buildings on both the east and west sides are strikingly attractive, and security security is available throughout the campus.

As for concerns, MIS lacks shade on its playground. Stormwater run-off on the east side of the building creates ongoing issues. Flooring in the fifth-grade hallway migrates through several levels and offers maintenance challenges. Space is limited for special events due to a volume of activities.

The middle school, the report noted, has attractive grounds due to prioritization by prior administrators to preserve the lawn. Strong effort by maintenance and custodial crews have sustained the buildings. Building updates, including the carpet, lights and the automatic doors, have improved the appearance and functionality of the campus. The E.E. Camp gym also offers “a great space” for events.

Among the concerns, the report said the middle school needs new doors for the entry. Classroom space is at capacity and, thus making it necessary to hold classes on the commons room stage. Stormwater run-off has also created issues getting into classrooms on the north side.

The high school, with its spacious parking lot, has room other campuses lack. Its proximity to the Scott Regional Technology Center offered more resources nearby. Security cameras provide an exceptional view throughout the campus. The lawn, especially south of the campus, offers prime space for outdoor activities. The performing arts center and the high school commons provide exceptional spaces for events and activities.

Concerns at the high school included a lack of storage, limited classroom space with a large campus population, having enough locker room space for a population of around 800 students, a lack of handicapped access to the mezzanine, and a lack of electrical outlets in the commons. The campus also is not self contained, requiring students to walk outdoors to classroom space on the Scott Tech campus, exposing them to both weather and traffic in the parking lot.

Scott Tech offered adequate space for programs and large shop spaces, more available room than on other campuses. The amphitheater classroom offered more room than most and technology for projections. The commons space also contributed room for gatherings and events. Offices had large and extra rooms, which had been shared with college staff in the past. The building also has an attractive design and presentation to the public.

The report also noted the Scott Tech campus has little extra storage space remaining. The roof has proven problematic. Space has also been well used and would provide challenges for adding programs.

Board members approved the report without discussion as part of its consent agenda.

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