The initial public meeting for the long-range facility improvement plan for the future of our schools was held on Wednesday, November 4 in the ALAH gym. About 50 people were in attendance including team members, school board members, several teachers and administrators. Attendees were assigned tables and groups to work with. As mentioned in past articles, the purpose of these meetings is to gather data and input from our communities as Arthur Community Unit School District #305 identifies priorities for our schools and our childrens’ futures. Information gathered at these meetings will be presented in a summary report to the Board of Education early next year and will also be available on the District website.
The evening opened with co-chair Jason Yeakel welcoming everyone and giving an overview of the evening activities. Superintendent Shannon Cheek next provided background for the process so far as well as noting that the discussions will be about ‘where we are,’ where we want to go,’ and ‘how to get there.’ The superintendent shared that the initial online thought exchange questions elicited over 400 responses. Those responses also uncovered community priorities related to all areas, not just facilities.
Consultant Scott Kuffel, Ed.D gave a brief presentation, stressing that these meetings will be limited to two hours or less as all realize that time is valuable. Damien Schlitt, BLDD Architects, then provided a quick look at several possible scenarios which started with maintaining the status quo (scenario 0) to a final scenario (#4) of keeping K-5 elementary schools in Arthur, Atwood and Lovington and the idea of building a new 6-8 middle school (site to be decided).
Co-chair Matthew Schrock then took the floor to remind the crowd as to the reason for taking on this project. And that would be our kids and their futures and the opportunities that they can be given. He instructed the groups to focus on strengths and weaknesses of each scenario and fill out the forms provided, to share additional scenarios that each group might come up with and reminded that this information will be shared in upcoming sessions. Each table assigned someone to record their conclusions and a facilitator to share those with everyone at the end of the session.
As each small group started their work they were advised that nothing was off the table and to feel free to come up with their own masterplan scenario if they chose and that ALL questions were welcome.
After 45 minutes or so, the groups wrapped up their work and Jon Day, co-chair, asked the facilitator from each table to come up and share not only strengths and weaknesses found but their favorite concept and any other possible scenario that their group might have discussed.
The responses from each group were collected for the planning team to take note of and review before the next session which will be on Wednesday, December 1 at the high school from 6-8 p.m.
A reminder that there will also be a meeting on Wednesday, January 12 as well as virtual meetings available after each session if you cannot attend in person. Please make plans to become involved and engaged in this very important endeavor that will affect the future of all our children as well as our communities. All are welcome to attend any and all sessions.
Team members are Misty Appleby, Mac Condill, Jon Day, Iris Dicks, Ron Eagan, Kevin Hilligoss, Kevin Huffman, Emily Kauffman, Heather Miller, Jenny Moore, Matthew Schrock and Jason Yeakel. These people, along with school administrators and school board members, are available to answer questions and/or provide information.
The committee has a Facebook page at U-Knight 305 and a webpage at uknight305.com