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Architects update BOEon new school

CHRISTAN M. THOMAS • Mar 5, 2007 at 11:21 AM

KINGSPORT - More details continue to take shape in the construction of a new elementary school in the Rock Springs community.

Architects from Barge, Waggoner, Sumner and Cannon and the DLR Group - the firms contracted to design the new school - paid another visit to the Kingsport Board of Education at their regular monthly meeting Thursday to give an update on the progress of the project.

DLR Group architect Chris Elnicki presented more detailed schematics of the building, including possible configurations for the "learning houses" or flexible classroom spaces.

Architects said the building footprint is now set. Minor adjustments made from previous plans included slight reconfiguration in placement of pre-K and after-school child care areas. The new plans also include additional space, which could potentially be used as a classroom, on the second floor between learning houses. The current building is approximately 91,000 square feet.

Traffic patterns have also been tweaked to allow up to six buses to enter and queue at the side/rear of the building through the parking lot and to a one-way drop-off/pickup lane. Cars remain separate and will queue at the front traffic circle. Current plans show room for approximately 62 cars and minivans to line up on site, with space for an addition 19 on the street. Canopies are slated to cover drop-off/pickup areas at both the front and rear of the building.

In other business, the board approved a budget amendment transferring $875,000 previously allocated for the Central Office renovation project to the Dobyns-Bennett renovation project. The funds will be slated to construct a new building inside J. Fred Johnson Stadium, which will contain a baseball locker room, baseball coach's office, a concession stand, public rest rooms and maintenance facilities. The structure will be the same size and shape as the current indoor baseball/softball practice facilities. Funds must be in place before official bids can be approved.

The BOE decided to defer voting on textbook adoptions until later this month in order to give more time for dialogue. The textbook adoption committee recommended the adoption of Rigby Literacy for kindergarten through fifth grade and Super QAR Test Wise Students for sixth grade. Books will be on display for public review and feedback at the Palmer Center March 2-23.

The board also voted to approve the continuance of a lease on the building at 1808-1810 E. Center St., which currently houses the technology and staff development departments. The current lease ends on March 17. The lease will instead continue at the same rate on a month-to-month basis for a period not to exceed three months, until other arrangements are agreed upon. The BOE also voted to ask the Kingsport Board of Mayor Aldermen to approve an offer on the property of $180,000.

Finally, the BOE approved a partnership with Holston Medical Group to provide the "Lose It 4 Good" program designed to counteract childhood obesity. HMG will pilot the program at one elementary school this spring and expand the program next year.

Lose It 4 Good involves determining the body mass index (ratio of weight to height) of students, providing written feedback and results to parents, and then offering the opportunity for eligible students to participate in the program. Lose It 4 Good is designed to help both students at risk for obesity and those who are underweight combat unhealthy habits.

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