EL Residents Get First Look at Plans for Glencairn Elementary

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 10:46 am
Karessa Wheeler

Above: Residents and parents packed the current Glencairn library to see the first views of the proposed new school

Parents and neighbors got their first view of the site layout, design and construction plans for the new Glencairn Elementary School, expected to be completed by fall 2019.

The plans include a two story building to replace the current single story building. By building two stories, the school will have more outdoor space on the smallest school lot in the District, said Superintendent Dori Leyko.

If the new building follows the plans presented yesterday, the second story would house upper elementary school classrooms. All the classrooms for kindergarten and first graders would be on the first floor, along with rooms for special education, art, media and music. Rows of ceiling to floor windows will fill the corridors of both floors with natural light. The cafeteria will also have a wall of windows overlooking a courtyard area leading to a playground and outdoor education space.

Security will be increased by having a set of double doors through the main entrance, which would face south toward Northlawn Avenue. Once school begins in the new building, everyone entering the school would have to go through the administrative office before being admitted to the school.

Parking and traffic congestion would be addressed by separating bus and car traffic. Parents would be able to drop off students from Northlawn Avenue directly to the main entrance, which would also feature about 25 angled visitor parking spaces. Meanwhile bus traffic and staff parking would be located in the northeast corner of the building. Bike racks would be located at both the south and north entrances.

Landscape architect Nate Bosch walked the audience through the exterior of the site, which will be prepped for the possible installation of solar panels and be able to use geothermal energy. Next, project architect Alex Stuckey described the interior space. All classrooms are arranged in pairs to facilitate team teaching with shared small-group learning space in the middle. Lower level classes will have their own toilets while gender specific toilets will be located on the second floor. Two single-stall gender neutral bathrooms will also be installed, one on each floor.

Above: Glencairn Elementary School fourth grader Graham Holden asks a question of architects designing the new school building as Superintendant Dori Leyko looks on.

Current Glencairn fourth grader Graham Holden asked the planners about the placement of the staircase in the new school as well as any additional recreational equipment.

“Will it have a rock wall?” he asked. Leyko answered that has not yet been decided but that she wants to know what students like Graham would like to see.

According to Leyko, staff at Glencairn are working now to pack up the contents of the school in preparation for the move south on Harrison Avenue to Red Cedar Elementary, where renovations are currently underway. This fall, Glencairn students and staff will occupy Red Cedar while Glencairn is demolished and rebuilt. The new school is expected to be ready in the summer of 2019.

However, which students return to Glencairn in the fall of 2019 is not yet determined. Ultimately, the District plans to keep Red Cedar Elementary open after all construction is completed as a sixth elementary school. Who will be assigned to go there and what grade levels will be offered hasn’t been determined, Leyko said.

“One of the goals of the committees and the administration is to minimize transitions for students,” Leyko said. “So students that live near Red Cedar would go to Red Cedar.”

That didn’t sit well for parent James Barger, who lives near Red Cedar but wants his children to attend the same school as their friends, regardless of which building that would be in.

“We are far more interested in who is in the building than which building it is,” Barger said.

Leyko said the determination of the construction order for the remaining buildings would be made in the next month, which might impact the logistics of future student moves. [Editor's Note: the original version of this story incorrectly indicated that the decision on what students would attend Red Cedar Elementary would be made "in the next month."]

The designs for Glencairn are not yet final. Leyko said she will take feedback obtained from the forum back to the Dpistrict administration and committees to incorporate suggestions. Another forum will be held in March to explain any changes to the plans.

A similar process for Donley Elementary will begin with a first forum on Feb. 22.


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