Prop R: overcrowding & district security

January 5, 2022

The+addition+at+Westchester+Elementary+School+will+be+ready+for+students+at+the+end+of+January+2022.

Sophia Beckmann

The addition at Westchester Elementary School will be ready for students at the end of January 2022.

The Kirkwood community passed Prop R, a zero-tax rate increase bond, with 68% approval April 6, 2020. Prop R is designed to address overcrowding, update aging infrastructure and systems and enhance safety and security district-wide. Plans have been set for major renovations throughout KSD, including at KHS and five other KSD schools. Current KHS plans include the addition of 15 new classrooms, relocating the main office to the Dougherty Ferry parking lot and enclosing connection corridors. 

Prop R plans were initiated in summer 2021, with HVAC units installed at KHS, Keysor, North Glendale and Tillman. Construction broke ground on two classrooms at Westchester Elementary School in the fall of 2021, ahead of the predicted schedule.

“Because of growing enrollment, we are out of space [at Westchester]. We had to act quickly,” Mike Romay, KSD chief financial officer, said. “If we were to wait to build those two classrooms [with the rest of the Westchester construction], it would mean they wouldn’t be finished until summer 2023. We couldn’t wait.”

The classrooms are on schedule to be completed at the end of January 2022 and will be ready for student use during the second semester of the 2021-22 school year. Additional work over the summer and fall included a new security office at KHS’s Essex entrance, a secure entrance at North Glendale Elementary and ADA ramps at the front entrance of North Glendale and Robinson Elementary schools. According to Romay, while these projects were within budget and relatively in their timeline, they were not without complications.

“[There are] no major problems yet, though we do have some concerns with supply chain issues,” Romay said. “We were waiting on glass for the security office at the high school. The doors didn’t have glass for the first few weeks of school [because of supply chain issues].”

As the director of safety and security, being on campus [allows me] to form relationships with highschoolers.”

— Martise Scott

The new KHS security office provides KHS with numerous benefits, according to Martise Scott, KSD director of safety and security. He said the office serves two roles: a physical barrier to entry and a mental reminder of KHS security.

“[The office provides both] presence and the ability to [directly] see the entryway where visitors come thinking it’s the main entrance,” Scott said. “As the director of safety and security, being on campus [allows me] to form relationships with highschoolers.”

The next stage of Prop R work will be interior renovations at Robinson, Keysor, North Glendale and Kirkwood Early Childhood Center (KECC). The bids for construction were submitted in December 2021 and the work is planned for summer 2022.

“Because [the work] is inside the school, it cannot start until school lets out in the summer,” Romay said. “However, it will be completed for the [2022-2023 school year].”

Major construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2022. The district will issue bid requests for the additions at KHS, North Kirkwood Middle School and Nipher Middle School in January 2022, and for Tillman and Westchester Elementary School in February 2022. These building additions are set to begin in late spring of 2022 and will be completed in summer 2023. 

“[This work] is a little more tricky because kids are close by,” Romay said. “We will have to phase in the work and do it at [the] time that is least disruptive. There will be some noise and disruption, but we will try to minimize it as much as possible. All work will be fenced off and students will be safe.” 

Though the major renovations have not started, Scott is excited about the improvements Prop R will make. Information on updates and progress can be found on the KSD’s website. 

We thank our community, staff members and students for supporting Prop R.”

— Martise Scott

“You can go to kirkwoodschools.org and click on the Prop R tab,” Steph Deidrick, KSD chief communications officer, said. “Click on updates and there you can find district updates and a [Power hour] video [with the superintendent].”

 All KSD school buildings will see some type of renovation due to Prop R in the coming year. While the major construction is yet to come, students will soon feel the rewards of Prop R, both Romay and Scott said.

“Every school will reap the benefits of Prop R,” Scott said. “The district needed the upgrades, there’s no doubt about it. We thank our community, staff members and students for supporting Prop R.”

 

Kirkwood High School

 

Add 15 classrooms to maintain class size and address needs such as career and technical education and areas for innovative programs.

Relocate and secure main office to the Dougherty Ferry parking lot.

Add a security office on the Essex entrance (Completed). 

Enclose connection corridors.

North Kirkwood Middle School

 

Convert Administrative Service Center (ASC) to classrooms (gain of 8-10 classrooms).

Relocate band to converted classroom, providing dedicated space for instrumental learning.

Enclosed connection corridors to increase safety and alleviate overcrowding.

Resurface track and address site settlement issues.

Nipher Middle School

 

Add four classrooms to maintain class size.

Enclosed connection corridor to increase safety and security and alleviate overcrowding in hallways.

Relocate orchestra to provide a dedicated space designed for instrumental learning.

Westchester Elementary School

 

Add eight additional grade level classrooms to maintain class sizes *(two completed).

New library/media center, converting existing library into spaces for personalized learning.

Additional art and music classrooms.

Expansion of the cafeteria.

Keysor Elementary School

 

Accessibility and safety improvements.

Upgraded elevator to enhance equitable access to learning spaces.

Upgraded restrooms.

Tillman Elementary School

 

Add six additional grade level classrooms to maintain class sizes.

New library/media center, converting existing library into spaces for personalized learning.

New wellness and gymnasium facility.

Additional art and music classrooms.

North Glendale Elementary School

 

Secure entrance to improve visitor management (Completed). 

Accessibility and safety improvements (Completed).  

Upgraded restrooms.

Robinson Elementary School

 

Accessibility and safety improvements (Completed).

Upgraded elevator to enhance equitable access to learning spaces.

Upgraded restrooms.

Kirkwood Early Childhood Center

 

Secure entrance to improve visitor management.

Accessibility & safety improvements.

 

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