The Haysville Sun-Times is providing weekly progress reports on various projects within USD 261’s $59 bond issue. Below are the Feb. 9 report on Ruth Clark Elementary, the Feb. 16 report on Haysville Middle School, and the Feb. 23 report on Campus High School. For the latest story, on Haysville West Middle School, please pick up the March 2 print edition of the Haysville Sun-Times.
New gym coming to HWMS
By Sam Jack
Improvements to athletic facilities are the focus of $4 million worth of bond-funded construction work at Haysville West Middle School. A second gymnasium is now under construction, and restrooms and a concession stand at the outdoor track and athletic field will soon follow.
Haysville Public Schools assistant superintendent Clint Schutte said during planning for the bond issue it became clear that a second gym was needed to serve HWMS’s more than 500 students.
“On the design for the original gym, it was supposed to be able to divide into two separate courts,” Schutte said. “But we found it didn’t work very well with what we had in our competitive league. We had trouble hosting A, B and C team games and ended up eliminating the C team. (With the new gym), we’ll be able to have C teams and get more students into competition.”
The new gym will also provide additional space for physical education classes. With boys and girls classes, plus weights and conditioning classes, space has been at a premium, principal Ildo Martins said.
“Really what it does is frees up a lot of space,” he said. “The new gym allows us to be consistent with the other members of the Pioneer League. … The bottom line is, this is what the community wants. They want our kids to be able to compete on the same level as everyone else, and have the same curricular opportunities as well.”
The new gymnasium, on the north side of the building, will seat 400 to 500 spectators and will include locker rooms. The district wants to buy retractable bleachers for the gym, assuming its feasible within the budget.
The new restrooms and concessions stand building, adjacent to HWMS’s track and athletic field, will eliminate the hazard of kids running back and forth across the parking lot to use the facilities, Schutte said.
“I’ve seen too many kids running back into the building for concessions, and they don’t look across. It’s a real safety concern, with the number of people we have out at soccer and football events,” he said.
The school board received a preliminary design for the restroom and concession building last week.
The track at HWMS is to be resurfaced, and a fence will be installed to provide separation between the playing and spectator areas.
“But we don’t plan to lock it up,” Schutte said. “We leave the track open for public use, and we want to encourage the public to come out and use it.”
Pool aside, construction at Campus nearly complete
From the Feb. 23 Haysville Sun-Times
By Sam Jack
The changes at Campus High School are mostly invisible from the street, but aside from the yet-to-be-built natatorium, work at the Haysville school district’s main high school is nearly complete.
Students and staff are enjoying the benefits of $5.8 million worth of renovations and additions.
Safety and security
Foremost among those benefits are two new storm shelter areas, according to Campus principal Myron Regier. Tornado and intruder safety were focuses of the “Keep Kids Safe” campaign that led to the bond issue’s approval.
“Essentially we now have two areas that our entire student body and staff can go into. It’s certainly worth it,” Regier said.
The storm shelters, which double as classrooms and as a wrestling room, are ready for the coming tornado season. Emergency plans have already been updated. The shelters were built using reinforced concrete that is rated to withstand 200 mile-per-hour winds.
“It’s all reinforced tremendously with rebar, to give it rigidity,” said assistant superintendent Clint Schutte. “The foundations go deeper, and the walls tie into the foundations. While they’re not paid for by FEMA money, they do meet the FEMA specifications for a storm shelter.”
Campus’s sprawling building has dozens of exterior doors, making intruder security a challenge. The bond issue has allowed installation of a system employing multiple electronic locks and buzzers.
“We know the public can’t always make it to the front door, sometimes because of handicap accessibility,” Schutte said. “Visitors can buzz the office, and cameras let them see who’s there. We do ask most visitors to come in the main door.”
The main entrance vestibule was reconfigured last year to route visitors through the school office before they get access to the rest of the building.
New classrooms, hallways
The old wrestling room is the new sports medicine classroom, and the old swimming pool, now filled in, is the new weight room. Weight room flooring was installed over the holiday break, and the room is now in use.
New science rooms, a PE classroom and a training room are in use, too. Art classrooms and standard classrooms in the southern storm shelter addition are ready to use, but classes will probably not move in until the fall, Schutte said. Soon, workers will add some square footage to the school’s shop classrooms and renovate their facade on the east side of the building.
The new and repurposed spaces allow Campus to keep up with student population growth, according to Regier.
“Our growth has been consistent and pretty steady for the last few years. It allows us to stay ahead of that,” Regier said. “We have added some very nice classrooms in areas that we needed to add space.
Building F, located at Campus’s northwest corner, had been the last disconnected part of the school. With a new hallway and portal, Campus is now entirely contiguous.
“Tying together all the hallways so that students don’t have to go outside is a huge plus. It helps with flow along the pathways between classes and cuts down on the traffic in the main Alumni Hallway,” Schutte said.
No change of course on natatorium site
Weeks after the Haysville City Council’s Jan. 31 vote to make concessions on parking lot ownership if the school district reversed coursed and agreed to build its natatorium adjacent to the new Haysville Activity Center, Schutte was clear that the district is going forward with plans to build the pool at Campus High School.
“We are going to build the new natatorium up at Campus,” Schutte said.
A plot at Campus’s northeast corner had already been identified as a backup site during initial bond construction planning, and architects and pool consultants are now working on an initial design presentation that the USD 261 Board of Education will hear at its regular Feb. 27 meeting.
The school board could also make a formal response to the city’s parking offer at that meeting, but members probably would have called an earlier special meeting if there were appetite to change direction.
Though the pool will not be located in Haysville proper, the district’s plans to make the swimming pool useable by and accessible to the public are not changing, Schutte said.
“It will have its own entrance, and when you see the design, you’ll see that it has flexibility to be able to lock it off so that we can secure it from the rest of the building,” he said. “The features that the city had asked for – for example, a certain amount of four-foot (deep) sections to be able to have swim lessons, we’ll still have all that. None of that changes.”
Regier is looking forward to the natatorium’s completion, which would occur around April 2018 under the best-case scenario.
“We are going to go from having an outdated, costly facility to something that is one of the best in the state. That’s going to be great for both our student body and for the swim team,” he said.
New gym and entrance highlight HMS changes
From the Feb. 16 Haysville Sun-Times
By Travis Mounts
Of all the construction projects happening in USD 261, one of the most visible to passersby is the work taking place at Haysville Middle School.
Located on Grand Avenue, one of the busiest streets of the city, many people get a daily visual update on the school’s progress.
But with the large concrete slabs in place for the new gymnasium and FEMA-rated storm shelter now in place, much of the work has shifted inside the building and out of the sight of the public.
Work on the new gymnasium started in April 2016, and is scheduled to be complete this August. The gymnasium also will serve as a storm shelter. Creating safe places for students, faculty and staff was a key part of the bond issue.
“It appears the new gym and safe room is moving along. We’re hoping and praying it’s moving along,” said Dr. Mike Maurer, HMS principal.
He said it will be a great addition to have a third gymnasium.
“We’ll be one of a few middle schools in the state to have three gymnasiums,” he said.
The building also will have a new entrance and a new office. The current office, in the heart of the building, no longer meets the security standards for school offices.
Maurer said the new office appears to coming along nicely. The office will move to the west of the building and will access the parking lot between HMS and Rex Elementary, south of Colt Stadium. For some time, the entrance has been on the east side of HMS.
People already are beginning to use the new west entrance, although students are still loading on and unloading off buses on the east side.
The old office space will become new classrooms. The new, secure entrance on the west side of the building will be the main entry to the school starting in August.
There have been some inconveniences, but given the scope of the work, Maurer said the interruptions have been minimal. The school had to close part of a hallway this semester. That forced some kids and teachers to move, and required a rerouting of some traffic in the building.
The last big project for Haysville Middle School is a new roof.
“The noise of them working on the roof gets a little annoying at times,” Maurer admitted. However, “It was desperately needed. We had leaks everywhere.
“The end product will be well worth it.”
Just like the new entrance at Ruth Clark Elementary, featured in last week’s Sun-Times story, and at other buildings, safety is playing a key role in district construction projects. The inner office at HMS was especially troubling, said Dr. Clint Schutte, assistant superintendent for business and finance.
“The whole idea of someone walking through your building you don’t know is there” is problematic, he said. “Safety and security is on everybody’s mind.”
While schools are statistically the safest place for kids, and enhanced safety measures are expensive, Schutte said no school official wants to see a bad situation that could have been prevented.
Schutte said he was pleased with efforts by the architects and various construction companies to minimize disruptions to students and teachers.
“That was one of the directions of the board” of education, he said.
Last month, the BOE approved ending this school year a week early to give crews more time to finish projects before the start of school in August.
Ruth Clark work nearly done
From the Feb. 9 Haysville Sun-Times
By Travis Mounts
Carla Wulf is looking forward to not hearing the Ruth Clark Elementary band and orchestra.
She supports the kids in the music programs, but it can be difficult to concentrate when one music program or the other is rehearsing in the hallway outside her office.
Soon – very soon – Ruth Clark’s band and orchestra will have a home. An instrumental room, with storage for instruments, will be occupied in the near future, once the school district gets possession of its additions this week.
Until now, the band and orchestra have not had a home for class. One group would play in the lunch room, the other in the hallway, within earshot of Wulf’s office.
Two new areas have been added to the school, which sits in the north part of the district, just to the east of Campus High School on 55th Street South.
On the east side is the new music room. One group will still have to rehearse in the cafeteria, but now one group – the band and the orchestra will take turns – will play in the new music room near the building’s southeast corner, just down the hall from the office. On Monday, workers were finishing a few final details. There’s plenty of space for instruments that now are stored on temporary shelving in a hallway and a commons area.
On the west side of the school is a similar addition that will house an intervention room for one-on-one work with students, a conference room and a learning facilitator office.
The final inspection took place last Thursday, and district took occupancy on Friday.
“Like all projects, there’s a few punch list items,” said Dr. Clint Schutte, assistant superintendent for business and finance.
The two new additions also perform an important role that’s not part of the curriculum but are critical for students. They also serve as FEMA-rated storm shelters. Providing storm shelters at the district’s buildings was a big part of the bond election effort. Voters approved the bond in 2015.
The work at Ruth Clark Elementary also included a new secure entrance, a feature that will be found at every school when construction is finished.
Another big selling point for the bond was that it wouldn’t add to residents’ property tax bill. The district saw some bonds ending. Five sets of bonds were refinanced, taking advantage of historically low interest rates.
“The cost savings each time was about $2 million,” Schutte said.
The district also took advantage of state money that was still available at the time of the election. State funds are covering roughly half of the overall cost.
The final aspect of the bond work at Ruth Clark are concrete safety bollards in front of the main entrance. The bollards are designed to prevent a vehicle from crashing into the main entrance, whether by accident or intentionally.