Archive for Tuesday, September 4, 1990

IN EUDORA

September 4, 1990

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— Less than two months after having a portion of its junior-senior high school closed for safety hazards, the Eudora school district today kicked off its 1990-91 school year short on classroom space.

Supt. Dan Bloom said this morning that problems have been minimal, despite some "makeshift" classroom arrangements because mobile units are not yet ready for use.

"Quite honestly, it looks like a smooth start to a school year," Bloom said. "It's just that we're having this building problem."

Three mobile units have been set in place, according to Bloom, but they still require some details before they are ready for use. He said he hopes the work will be completed by Friday or Monday.

BLOOM estimated that 120 to 125 students are directly affected by the classroom changes.

To ease the classroom crunch, the lunch room and other areas will be used on a short-term basis, Bloom said. Regular classrooms are being double-scheduled, to make use of any room in which a teacher has a planning period. The teacher leaves his or her classroom to allow another class to use it. But these two solutions should not be necessary after the mobile units are in use, he said.

The three mobile units are actually double-sized buildings, which will offer a total of six classrooms with 1,000 square feet per classroom, Bloom said.

"We're anxious to get into those," he said, especially because they are air-conditioned as is Nottingham Elementary School.

THE AIR conditioning could prove especially important during the current heat wave. The district originally had planned to start school Aug. 29 but delayed it because of the building situation, Bloom said. Because of that initial loss of class hours, he said he hopes to stay on a regular schedule.

"We really don't want to use the hot weather schedule if it can be helped," Bloom said. "We've already lost 2 days."

Meanwhile, a hearing was scheduled this afternoon at a rural Eudora fire station, 1310 E. 20th, concerning the review of the state fire marshal's order that the high school is unsafe for occupancy. The hearing was prompted by a successful petition drive by district patrons.

ROD BIEKER, director of the state education department's legal services, set the hearing date while presiding over two meetings Aug. 23. The first session concerned the Eudora school board's request to hold a $4 million bond issue election. The hearing was required because it would push the district past the statutory debt limit of 14 percent of its assessed valuation. Bieker told those attending that he would present a written recommendation Sept. 11 to the state board, which will then issue a statement to the Eudora board.

The second meeting was a preliminary hearing with representatives of the state fire marshal and district patrons who petitioned and forced a review of the fire marshal's order that the building is unsafe for occupancy.

John Earhart, the state fire marshal, declared the 72-year-old Eudora High School unsafe on July 12 after the Topeka engineering firm Finney & Turnipseed uncovered structural flaws.

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