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Heartland School Board Holds Final Informational Meeting & School Tour Before May 14 Bond Election

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During the school tour, Superintendent Klein took visitors to the North gym, where he shared all of the updates and additions included in the proposed comprehensive building project for the North area.

On Monday, April 29, the Heartland School Board held its final planned school tour and informational meeting regarding the upcoming May 14 bond election. Superintendent Jeremy Klein guided a school tour at 6 p.m., explaining the proposed building project to about 20 people in attendance. This was a great way for patrons to see the inner workings of the school up close and firsthand and how the passage of the bond will update and enhance Heartland.

The tour began in the lobby, where he explained what the new entrance would look like and how it would greatly enhance the school’s ability to monitor all visitors through a reception area that would be separate from actually entering the school. “A majority of those who enter this area won’t need to enter the main part of the school because our office staff will be consolidated in this area and will be able to meet their needs,” said Klein. Currently, the administration offices are split up on either side of the lobby, making it more difficult to regulate visitors coming and going from the school, according to Klein.

Next, the tour went into the Kindergarten room, where Klein pointed out that it was one of the largest classrooms in the elementary school. “This room is 900 sq. feet, but most of our other classrooms are smaller than this. The four new classrooms would have two rooms at 900 sq. ft. and two at 1200 sq.ft.,” said Klein. The larger spaces will provide needed flexibility for accommodating any type of classes currently and planning for the future said Klein. As an example, he pointed out how often a class needs to be split into two sections, and they need more rooms to accommodate the extra classes. Currently, the first and third grades are split, and as he sees this trend continuing, it’s a strain to provide enough space.

The tour continued into an interior area of the elementary where there were several small offices for the Tech coordinator, Title One, and Speech Pathologist. Other spaces in this area are needed for the additional contract services that the school utilizes and storage rooms. It also included an old computer lab that has been retrofitted in this area for a 5th-6th grade math room. Klein emphasized how every available space is being utilized, even in this already tight area.

The North Gym was the next stop, where he explained all of the proposed renovations and why they were needed. All the locker rooms will be consolidated into one area, making it more secure for students, easily accessible, and creating a better traffic flow, said Klein. Another added benefit will be the relocation of the boy’s locker room nearest the exterior wall so it can be accessible for them to exit outside during football practice.

He explained the need for new bleachers, widening the seats and aisles, and a new AC system in the gym, which is currently unairconditioned. With the addition of the new weight room the existing upper deck could be cleared out and would have room for some telescopic bleachers for extra seating. In the theater hallway, Klein pointed out the layout of the proposed connection hallway to the Ag building and how it would change the entrance to the theater, but the arch would stay put. This area would also include room for a dedicated concessions area to alleviate the stress of using the kitchen and storage areas.

Superintendent Klein showed the layout of the new connection hallway to the Ag building, explaining how it would change the entrance to the theater and address security issues for the school.

Superindentent Klein pointed out the three locations in the school that house all the electrical equipment. He highlighted how outdated and necessary it is to replace all the electrical switches, gearboxes, breakers, and wiring to keep the school running properly and safely. When describing the current electrical infrastructure, he said, “It looks like a toolbox that has been sitting in a machine shed for 40 years. They don’t even make parts anymore for some of the system that is over 70 years old,” said Klein.

Another area of infrastructure that will get a needed update is the computer server area. It will be consolidated to where Mr. Carr’s office is and will be climate-controlled, more secure, and easier to access in one place, said Klein. The office next to Mr. Carr’s will be converted into a staff mailroom and workspace.

One of the questions that came up during the tour was how soon the project could get going if the bond passes. “I anticipate that we could have bids signed and approved as soon as July 1st,” said Klein.

Following the tour, the school board convened in the South gym for the informational meeting. Superintendent Klein presented a slide show explaining the project’s history and the complete details of the comprehensive plan to those present. He emphasized that the early childhood daycare center was one component of the project that definitely will be built whether this bond passes or not.

“The board believes that the school has historically been very reasonable and competitive with our levy, and right now, we have the third lowest levy out of 21 schools,” said Klein. If the new bond passes, Heartland will still be ranked 6th lowest out of 21 schools.

The bond election is set for Tuesday, May 14, which is a primary election date as well. He showed a slide of what a sample ballot will look like where a simple “For” or “Against” the bond may be marked by voters.

If you were unable to attend any of the meetings, everything presented can be found at the Heartland Community School website. Superindentent Klein invited anyone who has further questions or wants to see anything in the school before the election to stop by his office, and he would be more than happy to share any more information with them.