William Allen White Elementary was one of three small neighborhood schools built in the mid-50s during the baby-boom years.

Maynard and Walnut schools opened about the same time.

A classroom and library addition in 1989 helped accommodate enrollment increases. A third addition of a library media center, high-wind shelter/multi-purpose room and a kitchen is part of the 2019 bond proposal. The improvements also would add office space for the Social Emotional Learning and academic specialists and some updates to HVAC systems.

Student Academics

The new construction will allow for more flexible use of space for small-group instruction and large-group activities, according to Principal Tell Kirk.

Classroom renovations at White and other elementary schools will incorporate features found in the “model classroom” updated at Walnut in 2018. The features include tables and multiple types of seating, all easily moveable to allow for flexible use of space. Kirk said classroom storage will be a major improvement to accommodate the large number of materials teachers now use with project-based learning.

“We now use a lot of different materials, and it’s not just textbooks,” he said. “Instruction is so much more hands-on. PBL necessitates a lot of materials to allow students to learn through application. We need a place to store all of those materials and be able to access them quickly.”

Over the years, the need for classroom space squeezed the library into a small classroom with no windows. A new library media center adjacent to the multipurpose room “will be a huge improvement for us. The library now is in the smallest room in the building and it does not promote the learning atmosphere I would like to see in an up-to-date library media center.”

Social Emotional Learning offices will be moved into the front office area, giving parents and students greater access to specialists. Five specialists — two student support specialists, school psychologist, special education instructional coach and Communities in Schools liaison — now share the old stage area as offices.

Safety and Security

Kirk said he is most excited to see safety moved to the forefront with the new multipurpose room/high-wind shelter. The multipurpose room will be large enough to protect all 250 students and nearly 65 teachers and support staff during life-threatening weather. Currently, only two of Emporia’s nine schools have high-wind shelters.

“Right now, during drills, I have kids in bathrooms, stairways, offices, all places not ideal for storm safety. The addition of the shelter is reassuring for our student and staff safety,” he said.

Kirk said the room will be used as a cafeteria, which will free up the gymnasium for full-day use.

When it is not used for eating, the room will be used as a flexible space for group activities.

“It will be full all the time,” he said.

Building Systems

The bond proposal includes updating the building’s HVAC system, additional parking and a new roof. A kitchen will be added adjacent to the multipurpose room to allow for more on-site food preparation that will allow Food Service to provide fresher hot meals to students. Logan Avenue, Village and Walnut school kitchens will undergo similar improvements.

In Summary

The bond projects will provide these improvements at William Allen White Elementary:

• An adequate storm shelter

• Enhance access control for improved security

• Update and modernize classrooms

drive.google.com/drive/folders/1lrD__b3Cd0uNSHCBCAemDW3jLxKCKsH2

• New multipurpose area and kitchen space

• New library media center

• Appropriate learning environments based on all students’ needs

• Update aging building systems

• Improve parking opportunities

Open House for Stakeholders

Voters who have not been inside a school recently are encouraged to visit one of our upcoming open houses. Village, Logan Avenue, William Allen White, Maynard and Emporia Middle School will be open for tours and informal conversation on the following dates.

• 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15

• 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20

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