Work Session Shows Community Support For New Knox Wing Construction

Knox Community School Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The work session held by the Knox Community School Board last week shed some light on the feelings of the community concerning the Palmer Wing project at the elementary school. Superintendent A.J. Gappa explained that of the three options available – do nothing, renovate the existing wing, or build a new one – the consensus seemed to favor constructing a new wing.

With just over a dozen patrons in attendance alongside staff members at the meeting, Gappa says the majority seemed to favor the idea of building a new wing and carrying on with classes as normal until the wing has been completed. Then, classes would be added to the new wing, and the 60-year-old Palmer Wing would be torn down. Gappa explained the new wing would likely be at the west end of the newer structure of the elementary school.

With the Palmer Wing deteriorating and unable to house the technology and necessities required, Gappa says it’s important that people understand just how badly the school needs to address the situation.

“Our motto has been ‘Sell the need,’ because once people see the need that’s there, there’s usually not an argument from anybody,” he explained. “Then it becomes, ‘Okay, what do we need to do then? Because this needs fixed.’”

The school board will now look at what they need to do in order to build the new wing, and Gappa said it’s likely that the school will have to put a referendum out to the voters to allow them to decide. He said putting the question on a referendum would keep the project from affecting the county circuit breaker, thus having the least amount of impact on other governmental agencies within the school district.

Unfortunately, the referendum could only be put to the voters during elections in May or November. Since November is too soon, Gappa said they can look towards a referendum in May, but the school would likely have to cover the cost of an election because no other elections are planned to take place in 2013.

The matter will be discussed further at the next meeting of the Knox Community School Board, and Gappa encourages anyone interested in taking a tour of the Palmer Wing to call the school or attend the next meeting.