Hypothetical Reconfiguration of Knox Schools Presented by Schmidt Associates

A recent study of the facilities included in the Knox Community School Corporation revealed that some changes will need to be made to the buildings in order to optimize space utilization and site effectiveness.

When Schmidt Associates’ representative Tom Neff discussed the results of the facility assessment with Knox School officials on Monday, he suggested some potential next steps to take.

One thing Neff highlighted was the need to get the most out of an investment. He noted that spending money on outdated components that require continuous maintenance and upkeep wouldn’t be as beneficial as investing in a more permanent fix.

For instance, at the High School, the swim area is in very poor condition, with a rusted aluminum pool tank that is near failure. The same goes for many aspects on the East Wing of the Elementary School.

Rather than repairing those problematic items, the firm suggested demolishing the older wing of the Elementary School altogether, and potentially filling in the existing pool and investing in a new facility at the High School.

With the dated section of the Elementary School gone, it would open up space for additional parking which could help alleviate some of the existing traffic congestion and improve drop-off and pick-up procedures. Another proposed way to address that issue was to convert the “Redskin Trail” into a bus lot which would provide better separation of buses and cars.

At the Middle School building, Neff suggested adding an entry drive off of Main Street and installing some additional visitor parking since parents and patrons sometimes mistakenly utilize staff spaces or interfere with the busses during pick-up and drop-off.

Another major part of Neff’s presentation was a proposed reconfiguration of the make-up of the schools.

With the Elementary School reduced in size, Neff suggested limiting that facility to students in pre-k through second grade. The students in 3rd and 4th grade would be moved to the Middle School building with 5th and 6th graders. That facility would be reframed as an “Intermediate School”.

Neff added that the High School building could then be converted into a Junior/Senior High School and would house students from 7th grade up.

Neff felt that this would create more opportunities for 7th and 8th graders to take advantage of some of the educational and vocational programs the school provides even sooner.

He also noted that with other schools who utilize the Junior/Senior High model, efforts are made to ensure that students feel safe and comfortable amongst their own peers.

He said for this new set up to work, it would require the addition of 50,000 square feet at the High School facility. He proposed an adjacent field house but stated that the space could be divided up and placed anywhere else in the facility.

He added that the existing swim area could be converted and utilized for gym and/or classroom space and then the new field house could be used as a new pool facility.

The recommendations provided were based on the company’s facility assessments but were entirely hypothetical. Neff was sure to emphasize that they were simply suggestions that could serve as a starting point for future reconfiguration.

The Schmidt Associates representatives invited the school officials to visit La Porte Schools to see some of the facility upgrades they’ve been working on there. Superintendent William Reichhart said he would be in touch to work out the details.

For the full presentation provided by Tom Neff, click the following link: Schmidt Associates – Where do you go from here?