When the Kellogg School Board decided earlier this year that Kellogg Middle School would be moving to the former Sunnyside Elementary School, there were a lot of mixed reactions.
After months of deliberating, taking public comment, and consulting with architects from Trapp and Associates, the board announced their decision in early January.
The idea that the newest building in the Kellogg School District (KSD) has sat empty for (going on) two years has irritated many citizens in the district, but the announcement that the school would now house children who are older than its intended design has also raised questions.
Is the school big enough to hold the students?
Can a school designed for elementary aged children house older students?
What is going to happen to the current middle school building?
KSD superintendent Woody Woodford was able to shine some light on these questions and discuss what the plans for the two buildings are moving forward.
The current middle school building was designed in the 70’s and was built to house over 700 students; it currently only has around 260 students enrolled.
The building has fallen into disrepair over the years and because of its design, fixing the issues would result in even more issues.
Cracked walls, uneven floors, plumbing issues, and difficulties with being able to control the heat are just a few of the problems that Woodford and the rest of the KSD administration were forced to take into account during the deliberation.
The Sunnyside building was built to house 350 students according to Woodford, but those numbers were also with smaller children in mind.
“We are going to have to make some changes, but nothing too major,” Woodford said. “We are going to have lockers brought in, but the most major addition will be the locker room.”
At this time the plan is to build both a male and female locker room area of of east end of the gymnasium.
Earlier plans had the locker room being built exactly where the rear playground is, but this plan has changed.
With only one quarter remaining in the 2016/17 school year, crews will begin construction and outfitting on the school in May of this year so that the school is ready for the next school year.
“As of May 1, the former Sunnyside will be an active construction zone as we prep the building to be able to take students on September 5,” Woodford said. “Beside the locker room area, we will be replacing some of the faux walls that are in the Sunnyside building and putting in permanent walls.”
As for the old middle school building, some plans have been made, but others are still being put together.
“When we combined schools (Pinehurst and Sunnyside Elementary Schools) we didn’t save a lot of money, but when we close down the educational wings in the middle school we are going to see tangible savings, mainly due to what it costs for those areas to be utilized (heat, energy, water, etc…),” Woodford said. “The idea is to demolish everything west of the hallway that leads up to the library and keep the rest, but we don’t have a timetable for that yet.”
The remaining area would consist of the library, offices, kitchen/cafeteria, home economics classrooms, a special education class, the drama/band room, the KSD technology hub, as well as the gymnasium and locker rooms.
According to Woodford, this area will be rechristened the Kellogg School District Community Center and Sunnyside will become Kellogg Middle School.
“I’m excited and so is the staff,” Woodford said. “They were hesitant at first. What’s that old saying, ‘people love progress but hate change,’ but after walking through the building they warmed up to it.”
For more information, contact the Kellogg School District at (208) 784-1348.