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A-D-M district addresses facilities needs

Increased growth and diminishing classroom space was addressed at the Adel-De Soto-Minburn School Board’s regular meeting.

Representatives from frk architects + engineers were on hand to speak with the board and discussed expansion options at the Adel Elementary School, De Soto Intermediate School , and at the A-D-M High School.

According to their reports, the firm was contacted the summer of 2012 to work with the district to explore options to address expected growth and look at district facility improvements. Then in the winter of 2013 a planning committee was formed consisting of School Board members, principals, city dignitaries and local citizens who looked at what each building would need for future growth.

Potential growth for the district shows there could be an additional 300 students in five years, impacting the lower and intermediate grades. In 10 years, the district could grow to as many as 500 students.

The increase could put a strain on the current buildings especially the Adel Elementary and De Soto Intermediate Schools.

“We are seeing growth happen at our youngest grade levels first especially due to the tax abatement programs,” Superintendent Greg Dufoe said. “At this point we are addressing Adel and De Soto first.”

The Adel Elementary, constructed in 1965, currently has 20 general education classrooms and had 377 students enrolled for the 2012-13 school year according to the report.

Based on the district’s ideal classroom size of 18-19 students per class, student enrollment exceeded that amount this past year and the amount of square footage needed

for classroom space. A recommendation from the planning committee could allow for six additional classrooms to be added onto the elementary school, bringing the capacity to 510 students. The site would also relocate the bus barn to the Nile Kinnick Campus. Increased student growth is also a concern at the De Soto Intermediate School. The ideal classroom size for third grade students is 18-19 students and 20-22 students for fourth and fifth grade.

Currently, the school exceeded the district’s recommended maximum class size for third grade students and is right at capacity for fourth grade students.

Recommendations to help alleviate classroom strain included construction of eight additional classrooms, bringing the capacity to 482 students, renovating the music, art and elevator accessibility to all three levels.

The A-D-M Middle and High Schools were also analyzed with the middle school meeting ideal class size and the high school falling below the ideal class size of 24-26 students per classroom; however, enrollment projections for the 2015-16 school years could increase those numbers thus increasing the need for additional classrooms. The study recommended swapping students from the current middle school into the high school to accommodate future growth projections. If the students were to switch schools, the decommissioned middle school could be used to house district offices. Dufoe also emphasized the district’s need to address site circulation such as parent pick-up and drop-off and overall safety.

“A major component is overall safety and security at our buildings,” Dufoe said. “It’s been something we know we need to address such as entrance security to placement of district offices. We are very excited about the work that has been done and moving forward with the project.”

No action was taken on the item, but Dufoe said he hopes to have the project completed by August.

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