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Archive for Tuesday, November 10, 1998

BOUNDARY COMMITTEE GETS NEW SCHOOL TASK

November 10, 1998

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The Lawrence school board broached the subject of shifting boundaries for a new school at its meeting Monday.

It's a blank slate, but on Monday Lawrence school board members made the first mark on what will become a new elementary school west of Wakarusa Drive.

Voters in the Lawrence school district approved a $16.6 million bond issue in elections last week, allowing the board to plan for future development of the school, as well as provide boundaries for who will attend the new facility.

"Once you define boundaries, that group (of families) becomes more invested in that school," Assistant Supt. Craig Fiegel said. "We need to define early on who's going to go to that school."

Board members agreed to hear suggestions from a boundary committee, which was formed last year, about where boundaries for the new school will be placed.

"At Quail Run the number of kindergartners is a lot lower than the number of sixth-graders," Fiegel said. "That might allow us to survive another year."

When the boundary committee reconvenes later this year, it will make recommendations to the board on whether current elementary school boundaries should remain in place until the new school opens for the 2000-2001 school year, or whether to shift boundaries for the 1999-2000 school year.

"Another goal -- and something I've never forgotten -- was what Austin (Turney) said last year about his concern that if we did indeed open a new grade school of not artificially filling it, but leave room to grow," board member Mary Loveland said.

Loveland's concern stemmed from the opening of Sunflower School five years ago, when boundaries were shifted and the school opened close to capacity. The school now faces many of the overpopulation problems that Quail Run does.

"My motivation is really, in good part, to avert future boundary changes," Turney said.

Fiegel warned the board that the boundaries in Lawrence won't stop shifting once the new school opens.

"My whole speech on boundaries is that they're ever-changing," he said.

Boundary committee members who do not wish to continue with the process will be replaced by new members from the community, site councils and administration.

The board did not set a date for when that committee would reconvene.

The board also approved the engagement of Nichols and Wolfe Co. to serve as bond counsel and George K. Baum & Co. to serve as the financial adviser for the bonds.

The board also approved the architectural firms that will work on the district projects approved in the bond issue.

Glenn Livingood Penzler will design the new elementary school and complete the Prairie Park School classroom addition; Michael Treanor Architects will work on the renovations to Pinckney School; and Gould Evans Associates will renovate the Woodlawn School library and build a new library for the school.

All three architectural firms chosen for the projects have offices in Lawrence.

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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