The USD 248 Board of Education got a chance to share more than their two-cents worth Wednesday during a marathon special meeting with architects working on the plans for a proposed expansion at Haderlein Elementary and the high school/middle school buildings in Girard.

The USD 248 Board of Education got a chance to share more than their two-cents worth Wednesday during a marathon special meeting with architects working on the plans for a proposed expansion at Haderlein Elementary and the high school/middle school buildings in Girard.
After voting unanimously to accept the resignation of current head basketball coach Zach Martin and the hiring of Arma coach Rod Wescott as his replacement, the board heard from Corey and Shauna Schultz of PBA Architects in Wichita.
The husband-wife design team brought with them various concept drawings of proposals for the projects. The idea was to give board members some physical indication of where the designs were at and to gain input on where members wanted to see them go.
Corey Schultz started off his presentation by telling the board this was proving to one of the most challenging projects he's ever worked on.
“We thought these two projects were going to be kind of slam dunks,” he said. “Once we got in to it, we found out it wasn't quite that simple.”
Corey Schultz said he had gone through several design concepts to arrive at six — three for each of the two buildings — that he presented Wednesday. He said he wanted to board to now provide him some additional guidance, based on the concepts, to further refine the ideas and begin working on specifics that would help him provide cost estimates for the project.
“Nothing right now is set in stone,” Corey Schultz said. “This is to give us an idea what we need to budget for and what you may put forth to the community. Once the dollars are set, that's what we have to work with.”
The flow of traffic when dropping off students in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon was identified as the major challenge to be overcome at Haderlein Elementary, Shauna Schultz told the board. With the hopes of adding all-day kindergarten in the next couple of years, the traffic problems would only increase, she said.
The Schultzs presented three separate proposals to address traffic flow, in addition to construction of new facilities at the school and the remodeling of some existing areas. All three proposals involved doing away with parking on the west side of the current building and constructing a new staff parking lot to the south of the school, as well as moving an existing playground south of the school to make way for the parking lot.
The first concept would move the bus lane to the north side of the school. A series of one-way streets would be established on the east, south and west sides of the school, with pickup and drop-off locations decided by what part of the building a student's classroom is in.
The second proposal keeps the bus lane on the west side of the school. A one-way circle drive with parallel parking would be added on the south side of the school. The third proposal puts the buses back on the north side. Parking would be decreased in the third concept, but green space and playground area for the students would be increased around the school.
Right now, traffic tends to stack up along Prairie Street when parents are picking kids up and dropping them off. One goal of all three plans was to keep traffic to a single lane, directly adjacent to the sidewalks, so children are protected from the street and other cars when entering and leaving their parent's vehicle.
“We want a single row (of cars) with the passenger side adjacent to the building,” Corey Schultz said. “The kid comes out of the building, steps up to the car and gets inside without ever walking into the street.”
After extensive discussion of the merits of each of the three concepts, the board asked the Schultzs to proceed with a combination of two of the ideas. Board members liked the idea of moving the buses to the north side of the school, but didn't like the idea of a circle drive. Corey Schultz said it could be redesigned to utilize the existing street in front of the school, but the street would be narrowed to make it one lane with no parking. The street could also be closed off during the school day to make it safer for students.
At the high school/middle school campus, the concept drawings included construction of the much talked about community center/fitness center and swimming pool. The current property lines surrounding the facilities, as well as the possible presence of a sewer line that Corey Schultz believed runs right through the middle of the proposed construction area, both presented challenges he was forced to work around.
In all three proposals he presented, the construction would take up a portion of the running track and east end-zone at the football field. Separate entrances for the community/fitness center were discussed, as well as the ability to segregate the new public facilities off from the school itself.
All three proposals included addition of an open commons area for students to congregate and an open area in the middle of the school that could be used as additional commons space during good weather.
“We're seeing a lot of school that are actually putting in overhead doors, the glass ones like you used to see in old gas stations,” Corey Schultz said.
“When it's a nice day out, put one door at each end of the outdoor commons, throw those (doors) up and the indoor space becomes and outdoor and the outdoor space becomes indoor. It gives the kids a little more space to spread out in.”
The administrative offices would be moved to be near the new entrances to the school, which were in different locations in different proposals, adjacent to the commons area. Principal Blaise Bauer was concerned with the distance from the offices to the classroom areas of the school.
“The placement of the new office is logical,” Bauer said. “But we're a long way from our kids.”
The most popular of the three concepts involved putting the new fitness/community center facilities in a semi-separate “pod,” attached to the existing facility by a short corridor. The plan had several advantages, both staff and board members said, not the least of which was it made it as easy as closing a gate to segregate the two facilities.
All three of the proposals were also contingent upon moving the existing football field to an off-site location, Superintendent Gary Snawder said.
After further discussion, the board asked the Schultzs to proceed with the development of the plans to include the pod design. No action was taken by the board.