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GRAVETTE -- The Gravette School District is in need of facility improvements that may require the passage of an additional millage, 1-3 mills, according to a Jan. 2 news release.

"The school district has been prudent with the use of its debt service millage by not asking the voters for increases except when necessary," the release states. "In the last six years, the school district constructed a softball/baseball field complex, remodeled the annex facility, remodeled the library and added six additional classrooms to Gravette Upper Elementary School using its current capital outlay funds."

According to the release, a survey of public opinion on the proposed facility improvements, along with descriptions of the projects being proposed, is located on the school district's website, and the public is being encouraged to participate in the survey so the district can determine the level of support the projects would have for a possible May 2018 millage proposal.

For more information and to participate in the survey, go to www.gravetteschools.net and click on the link: "The Gravette School District Facility Survey." Hard copies of the survey are available at the school district's administration office.

Facility needs described in the survey include remodeling Glenn Duffy Elementary School, remodeling older middle school classrooms, adding additional career classroom space and building a new competition gymnasium.

Remodel Glenn Duffy Elementary School

According to the survey, the school district is seeking to remodel Glenn Duffy Elementary School and make it a safer and better educational environment for students. The remodel would include:

• Relocating the office to the entryway of the building to monitor those entering and exiting the building, similar to the entry at Gravette Upper Elementary School.

• Air conditioning the gymnasium used for pre-kindergarten through second-grade physical education. According to the survey, the entry to the gym is in the school hallway and doors are left open so that cool air is provided from the academic hallways.

• Adding an additional toilet in one of the two exiting faculty restrooms.

• Replacing the floor tile in the hallway, which is 20 years old.

Remodel Middle School Classrooms

Also to be remodeled would be the older part of the middle school classroom building which was not finished when the middle school classroom addition was completed in 2012. According to this survey, the remodeling of these classrooms would provide two electives to the student's schedule, such as a foreign language and robotics. Currently, middle school students are limited to art and music.

Additional Career Classroom Space

The school district is seeking to add automotive service technology and advanced manufacturing classes for secondary students during the day and post-secondary students at night. The district is asking for approximately 12,500 square feet for the two additional vocational programs, with facility square footage established by the Department of Facilities and Transportation's program of requirements. The additional space would enable the district to add the training to its existing career training in welding, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and machining classes through Northwest Technical Institute, which is providing valuable career and technical opportunities to students in the surrounding school districts. The survey states that adults, 60 years of age and older, may also be able to take night classes at a reduced rate.

High School Gymnasium

The last item the district is seeking is a new high school gymnasium facility with seating for 2,000 or more visitors in order to host district tournaments and have adequate space for home games. According to the survey, the current school gymnasium was built in 1992, at a time when the school's student enrollment was approximately 500 less than it is today. At that time, the Gravette High School gymnasium facility was only 14 years old and adequate to meet the district's needs. In 2005 the Gravette School Board adopted a 10-year facility plan outlining areas that will need attention. The facility plan forecasted the need for a gymnasium by 2015. Over the last few months, the Gravette School Board has concluded that the current gymnasium is inadequate to meet the current needs of Gravette students and the community for the following reasons: 1.) The current gymnasium facility does not adequately provide seating capacity for home basketball games; 2.) The pep band sits in the balcony where the weight room is located; 3.) The district is limited in regard to hosting tournaments because the gym size is too small; 4.) The current gym seats approximately 1,000 visitors and must seat 2,000 in order to host district tournaments; 5.) The walk space around the perimeter of the gym is very small and creates a hazardous situation for patrons during the games.

General News on 01/10/2018

Print Headline: Gravette School District Facility Proposal for Spring of 2018

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