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Second Public Meeting for Long-Range Facility Improvement Plan Held

The second public meeting for the long-range facility improvement plan for the future of our schools was held on Wednesday, December 1 in the Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond gym.

The second public meeting for the long-range facility improvement plan for the future of our schools was held on Wednesday, December 1 in the Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond gym.

A slightly larger group than the first meeting was in attendance including team members, school board members, several teachers and administrators.

As before, 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.

Co-chair Jason Yeakel opened the meeting with a reminder as to why we are here and that the committee hopes for “extensive community participation.” As Supt. Cheek did at the first meeting, he reminded those present that these meetings are about ‘where we are,’ where we want to go,’ and ‘how to get there.’

Next up was Kevin Heid from Stifel Financial to talk about funding and financing. Heid discussed how different costs would or could affect property taxes, giving a few examples of just what the changes might be for property owners.

Damien Schlitt, BLDD Architects, once again provided a quick look at possible scenarios presented at the last meeting 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). However, from input gathered at the last meeting, a few new scenarios were added.

#4b – retiring the existing high school and building on one site a completely new middle school building (housing 6-8 grades) and completely new high school building (housing 9-12 grades);

#5a – an extensive remodeling of the existing high school with a middle school addition for a building housing 6th-12th grades;

#5b – retiring the existing high school building and a complete rebuild of a middle and high school building housing 6th-12 grades all in one building.

These scenarios – 4b, 5a, 5b – would leave each existing grade school at Arthur, Atwood-Hammond and Lovington, as PreK-5 buildings and would involve some improvements to each of those buildings as would all of the scenarios.

Co-chair Matt Schrock reminded those present that these meetings are for all who are interested in our childrens’ futures – the girl looking forward to her senior year, the little boy getting ready to portray the ‘hound dog’ in the grade school Christmas play and the little boy with special needs, also taking part in that play.

Participants were also given a wish list, with costs, and asked to come back with their three top choices from that list.

After time for discussion, each table gave a report on what their group had decided. There was fairly universal agreement on either scenario 5a or 5b and also on what each would put on their wish list. Interestingly, almost all seemed to agree that a new gym at Arthur Grade School is much needed as Atwood Hammond and Lovington grade schools both now have functional gyms usable for middle school games. Other priorities included secured entries, STEM areas, commons area and an auditorium.

All involved are very aware of what a huge undertaking this is but also the importance of ‘getting it right’ for generations to come and for our communities down the road. Very important to look ahead and prepare as best we can for the future and equally important to have input/suggestions/questions from all those interested in that future and our kids.

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 The results of the meeting(s) work activity by participants is also available on the website.

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