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Lakewood to start discussing new elementary school Jan. 26

HEBRON – Hebron Elementary School Principal Dee Martindale would be pleased to see fewer stairs in a new elementary school building. “Our current building is not very handicap accessible so having one story would be nice,” she said.

According to a press release, Lakewood Local Schools is beginning the concept planning process for a new district elementary school. In 2015, a consulting group led the district in completing a facilities assessment. The process involved students, staff, and community members. One of the highest priority items on the assessment was replacing Hebron Elementary School (pre-kindergarten through second grade), which recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. The Jackson Intermediate building, which houses grades 3 through 5, is also an area the elementary school planning process will address.

“I am excited about the prospect of a new elementary school for our students,” Martindale said. She said there are many things she would like to see in a new building, including plenty of natural light, flexible furniture so teachers and students can easily configure the classroom to accommodate for a variety of learning situations, more technology for teacher and student use, separate areas for buses and parent pick up to help with safety, common learning areas inside the school where students can collaborate, a large, colorful library/exploration area for reading, writing, and experimenting, and an outdoor area for learning. “These are just a few ideas to get started,” Martindale said.

Community members are invited to participate in the planning process, which includes a series of sessions facilitated by Legat Kingscott and JBA Architects, to determine the best solution to support student learning and achievement for elementary students in the Lakewood District.

The kick-off session is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Lakewood High School library. The process continues through September:

• Feb. 15: Information gathering related to goals and vision;

• March: Tour recently completed elementary schools;

• April 5: Review findings both pros and cons;

• April 26: Planning meeting;

• May 17: Planning meeting;

• June 7: Conceptual floor plans and site plan presentations;

• June 28: Final presentations and budget development; and

• September: Projected presentation to Board of education and community.

“It’s no secret our elementary facilities are aging,” said Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews previously, adding the elementary facilities’ shortcomings were noted in the district-wide facilities assessment presented to the Lakewood School Board during its December 2015 meeting. Andrews was clear there are currently no set plans to build a new elementary school, nor is there a plan to seek additional funding, but the time is right to begin thinking about what the district should do to improve conditions for its elementary students. She would like the community to begin “exploring concept planning for a new building or what parents would like to see in elementary facilities,” Andrews said.

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