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School Construction Leads to Office Relocation March 24
Tom Mulligan
Thursday, March 12, 2020

I wanted to send a quick update about the upcoming building project at the elementary school. As most of you have probably heard, the school district will begin construction in late March that will continue through the beginning of next school year.  In the end, we will have a new elementary school office, some additional smaller classrooms, new student bathrooms and completely renovated hallways.  But before we get to that point, we will all need to work together to get through the next few months. 

Student Safety

I want to be very clear that student and staff safety is our first priority. Most of the work that will be done during April and May will be done outside the building. That entire construction area will be fenced off from students and staff.  At no time will there be equipment moving outside that fenced off area when students are present. The only work done inside the building when students are present will occur in the current office, which is being relocated (see next section).  The old office area will also be sectioned off and no students will be allowed anywhere near that area.

One of the main reasons the school board hired Poettker Construction as the district construction manager is because they are an industry leader in safety.

Relocation of Elementary School Office

A temporary fence will be installed in front of the elementary school office on March 19.  That means that the elementary school entrance will also be closed starting on the 19th.  The new office location will take effect on Tuesday, March 24 when we return to school.

The office is being moved to the first classroom on the right side of the hallway in the junior high wing. All visitors to the elementary school will be required to enter the junior high/cafeteria entrance, immediately turn left and enter the doors into the junior high hallway, and then proceed to the new office location (first door on the right). There will be temporary signs installed to assist people with directions. There will be a buzzer system just like there is for the two main offices now where visitors will need to be buzzed into the building between 8 am and 3 pm.

Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures

The drop off procedures for the elementary school will remain the same.  All students will still be dropped off on the sidewalk on Washington Street. But, what happens after the students are dropped off will change.  All the students in Grades 4-6 will walk along the sidewalk on Washington Street heading east and enter the junior high/cafeteria entrance.  All students in Preschool through Grade 3 will head towards the preschool playground on the Washington Street sidewalk. The students will then turn south heading towards the preschool playground (and building).  They will enter the playground through a temporary gate that will be installed in the current fence. The students will then walk on the blacktop towards the northwest door where they will enter the school. They will be guided in this new process by staff.

The pick-up procedures will remain the same for all elementary students except those that normally exit through the main elementary office door. The students that are in grades 4-6 (that normally exit through the elementary entrance) will head towards and exit from the junior high/cafeteria entrance and the students in Grades K-3 (that normally exit through the elementary entrance) will head towards the preschool hallway and exit the door onto the preschool playground.  Those students will then use the new gate to head to the sidewalk on Washington Street for pick-up.

Increased Noise

I also wanted to give everyone a “heads up” that there will definitely be some increased noise beginning on March 30 all the way through the end of the school year!  I know that the first week will probably be rather loud because they will be removing concrete and the overhang outside the main office area. They will then proceed with construction on the new office area outside the building.

We have worked with the contractor to create an aggressive timeline. The total timeline for this project is around 5 months.  Unfortunately, we don’t have that much time in the summer so we will need to endure some inconveniences.

Summary

I am very excited that we are going to be able to provide these facility improvements for our students and our community! I am sure that April and May will lead to some increased traffic, some occasional confusion, and even frustrations. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the elementary principal, Angie Gentry (agentry@arcolaschools.com) or myself at tmulligan@arcolaschools.com or 217-268-4963.

I want to thank everybody in advance for their patience over the next few months.  In the end, it will be well worth it!