New school will be a source of pride for generations
The construction of the new Holton Elementary School for grades Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade has entered its final stretch.
The construction work is on schedule and everything should be ready to go on the first day of classes. An open house at the new school is tentatively planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.
After a tour with other Holton Rotary Club members last week, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that the new elementary school here will be one of the community’s crown jewels when it is completed.
The new elementary school will have about 38 classrooms and will serve about 650 children all under one roof. The new school has so many extraordinary features that it is difficult to name them all.
Here’s a few:
*The school bus pick up and delivery location on the west side of the new school is designed to accommodate a lot of buses and a lot of kids. Bus students will enter the school at the lower level front door at the southwest part of the building.
*The lower area of the school grounds, on the southwest corner, will serve as an outdoor nature study area with lots of native grasses, flowers, bushes, etc. That area will also serve as a water runoff retaining area for the school. All roofs will drain to that area where runoff will be collected for a slower, secondary drain off at the southwest corner of the campus.
*The student drop off and pick up location in the front of the school on the upper south side is designed for safety and a good flow of traffic. There will also be a visitors parking lot at that area.
*Across the street to the west, north of the old fair building, there will be another school parking lot. Teachers who have classrooms on that side of the school will park there and enter the lower front entrance – the same entrance for the bus kids.
For the most part, student lockers in the new elementary school are located in the classrooms. The classrooms for each grade are spacious and grouped together and carry a common color scheme, as do the hallways. Only the small-sized kindergarten lockers will be located outside of the classroom in a commons-type open area.
Some of the classroom walls are painted with “chalk paint’’ that students can write on with chalk. They are easily erasable.
Each grade level area has its own set of bathrooms and a small commons-like area. Wash stations are located just outside the bathrooms. Each grade level also has smaller “pull-out’’ classrooms where teachers can work privately with students one-on-one or two-on-two.
Each grade level area also includes special reading rooms and special education rooms that will be used for extra, more-individualized student instruction and as testing locations.
Local history will be an important theme in the new school. There will be a Jim Lane Cabin – a pioneer style cabin – built in the school to be used for educational purposes.
In the pre-school area, there will be sensory room to help kids with hand-eye coordination. That room will include a modern day covered wagon.
The new school will have a nice, spacious library with a pull-up portable wall so large groups can spill out into a hallway area.
The new school will have wobbly chairs for some students who need that to maintain their focus on school work. There will also be some standing desks for some students to use while they stand up.
The new school will have a large media room with a tall ceiling and a second-floor student viewing area for large assemblies.
Other features of the new school include a nice sized gymanasium and a stage area that opens from the gym and from the cafeteria, an elevator for those who have difficulty navigating stairs and a nice kitchen area.
The front entrance of the new school will have all the latest technology regarding safety and security. Office personnel will have a clear window view of everyone entering the school. The main entryway also has built-in glass showcase areas for rotating displays regrading local history.
The decision by Holton school patrons to build a new elementary school could not have come at a better time.
State aid to build the new school in Holton will cover 58 percent o the costs.
The year after Holton approved its school bond issue, the State Legislature decreased state aid for new schools by 22 percent, making the new state aid match 36 percent.
Who knows if state aid to help local Kansas communities build new schools will even exist in future years.
The teacher and school patron committee that helped design the new school did a good job.
The new school will be a source of pride in the district for many years to come. And when young families consider Holton as a potential new place to call home, the new school will definitely impress them like it is impressing us now.
Holton has needed a new elementary school for many years. After a tour of the new school last week, I think patrons will be very pleased with the one that’s been built.