Many schools in the Caesar Rodney School District are currently overcrowded. The district recently had construction management consulting firm Becker Morgan Group draw up potential additions and construction that could help to alleviate the district’s space constraints.
Brad Hastings of Becker Morgan presented the firm’s findings to the Caesar Rodney Board of Education during a special meeting on Monday night.
Hastings presented a plan that recommends adding four classrooms to McIlvaine Early Childhood Center. That addition would allow for an additional 100 students in the building. The infrastructure is already in place to support that addition. The cost of the project would be roughly $1,558,940, according to Hastings.
Adding four classrooms to the school essentially puts McIlvaine at its limit for development, said Greg Moore of Becker Morgan Group.
“This is not a terribly large site, even for the building you have,” Moore said. “You’re impinging on the edges of the property in a lot of cases and you don’t have a lot of field space. A school of this scale would probably have a property 50 percent larger than this if you were starting from scratch today.”
Plans showed a two-story, 14-classroom addition at the back of Postlethwait Middle School. The new addition would be connected to the main building by a corridor on either end. The addition would allow the school to accommodate roughly 350 additional students and is estimated to cost $5,943,000.
Plans for Fifer Middle School recommended a two-story, 10 classroom addition, allowing space for 250 more students, with an estimated cost of $4,273,300, according to Hastings.
The firm presented a plan for two additions at Caesar Rodney High School. A two-story, 10-classroom addition could be built on at the back right corner of the school, with an estimated cost of $4,228,000. A second 20-classroom addition could be built onto the other end of the school, extending into the area that currently houses two practice fields. This would allow for a freshman academy. The addition would be connected to the main building by a corridor.
The suggestion of expanding the high school brought up questions of capacity. Gym space is already tight at the high school, according to the high school’s principal Elvina Knight. A fourth lunch period would also potentially have to be added to the schedule in order to accommodate freshman academy students
The project would come with an estimated cost of $9,664,000. A full-size practice field could be included on the far side of the new addition. Plans also showed an additional access road, which would curve around both practice fields and the new addition, connecting to the school’s back parking lot.
Hastings also presented a plan for how the district-owned land on Banning Road in Magnolia could be used. Hastings recommended putting a 600-student elementary school on the 25-acre property. The site is more conducive to an elementary school for several reasons, said Hastings.
Page 2 of 2 - The lack of wide roads makes it a better elementary school because fewer drives tend to move in and out of elementary schools, according to Moore. The land around the Banning Road property is surrounded by land that has been zoned for future subdivisions.
Ken Starke, supervisor of facilities management for the district, also made a presentation to the board during the special meeting. Starke outlined a list of projects that need to be done at schools around the district. The list ranged from HVAC improvements at six district schools to roof repair or replacement at the middle schools.
The entire list of projects was estimated to cost $6,842,200. How these projects get funded is, in part, determined by whether or not the district goes to referendum, Starke said.
The board only heard the proposals presented. Discussion of the various options will take place at a later time.