School facility review indicates need to expand and improve classroom space
The Springfield School District Facility Task Force considered educational programming needs as they examined data following a series of meetings and a tour of the school building earlier this year.
The impetus for the meetings was the result of a comprehensive site and facility evaluation completed in February 2016 by ISG — architecture, engineering, environmental and planning firm — hired by the Springfield Board of Education to identify physical plant needs when experiencing problems with the current heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
The evaluation included an analysis of existing conditions and considerations of the site, interior and exterior building, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical conditions, as well as security, technology and programmatic considerations.
A space needs assessment was also conducted to quantify the student/space ratio for the variety of uses throughout the facility. In addition to educational uses, the assessment also considered extra-curricular, community education, and recreational uses and schedules for the facility.
The Facility Task Force was organized by the Springfield School District to be advisory to the Board of Education as they considered ISG’s assessment. The Task Force was asked to examine data and information and develop recommendations to the school board regarding various facility projects.
Educational programming needs were discussed after identifying mechanical needs, and considering school security and safety concerns. The assessment brought forward building limitations, and offered opportunities to support educational, student and community programming needs that are outlined as follows:
Career and Technical
Education lab needs
Foremost in programming needs, said the Task Force, is an expanded and updated Career and Technical Education (CTE) Lab. There is a growing demand for workers in the construction, manufacturing, engineering, automotive, and design trades in our region. Currently, the CTE space does not meet today’s programming standards and cannot functionally support existing equipment and provide the needed space for hands-on, project-based learning. A renovation and expansion of this space would expand course offerings to meet student interest and workforce demands, incorporate the latest tools and equipment, provide more job-like, project-based experiences, and improve safety.
Gym space demands,
The current gymnasiums do not meet the district’s physical education, indoor recess and co/extra-curricular program needs. When the 1961 gymnasium was built, the district offered only a few boys sports and there were no youth programs. Minnesota State High School League girls athletics came in the 1970s. Youth and developmental programs are now normal and expected and sought by the community. Today, academic, co/extra-curricular and youth programming engages many more students than ever before, most of which have gym space demands. As the result of the lack of gym space, youth and community programs for our youngest learners need to be held late into the evening throughout the school year and many gym usage requests cannot be accommodated. The small gym, often referred to as the Elementary Gym or the Little Gym, built in 1926, regularly needs to be used for indoor recess, housing more than 120 elementary students in the small space, and is utilized for junior high extra-curricular activities and youth programs. The functional use of this one-court small gym is limited. This gym lacks volume and height to allow for multi-use. Spectator viewing for many parents and grandparents is greatly limited and uncomfortable.
See complete story in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.