Updated renovation designs presented for initial viewing

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By Dave Taylor

The News-Democrat

Carroll County Board of Education viewed an update schematic design for proposed renovations at Cartmell Elementary School during its meeting April 21.  

The design ideas are being developed by a committee made up of teachers, staff and administrators to explore options for adding space to the facility.

The committee has been meeting since the end of January with representatives of RossTarrant Architects, a Lexington firm, to address overcrowding and traffic control issues at the Cartmell campus.

During Thursday’s meeting at Carroll County Middle School, John Gilbert, representing the architect firm, displayed an enlarged view of the latest schematic. “We’re not done at this time,” Gilbert said of the committee’s discussions. “There will be more detail to come at the May meeting” of the board of education, he said.

Gilbert presented the latest concept of a possible floor plan for a completed facility of about 44,070 square feet. Among ideas being studied are relocation of the school’s administrative area to a larger, new facility which would be built adjacent to a new gymnasium facility. The media center/library would increase in size and move to the area of the front entrance of the building. The media center, as well as the “cafetorium,” often are used in the evenings by the community, so keeping those areas self-contained would be a significant security measure, he said.

Drop-off and pick-up areas would be incorporated into the new design, allowing one loading/unloading area for district bus traffic, and a separate area for motorist traffic, according to Gilbert. Under this plan parents delivering and picking up students would not interfere with bus traffic.

One important need that was stressed by Cartmell Principal Doug Oak at the committee’s first meeting in January is to eliminate a traffic pattern that routes cars between the school and the playground during drop-off in the morning and pick-up in the afternoon. Oak’s concern was reported in the Jan. 28 issue of The News-Democrat.

The improvement project is needed because of overcrowding at Cartmell, which houses students in Head Start and grades four and five, and Kathryn Winn Primary, which houses children in kindergarden through third grade. The committee is looking to reconfigure the two schools, moving the third grade to Cartmell and moving the Head Start program to Winn.

In other business

  • Assistant Superintendent Bill Hogan discussed results of the latest test in a series of four given this school year under the new “Think Link” program. Think Link is a computerized assessment measuring students’ skills in math, reading, language arts and science, according to Hogan, and testing takes only about an hour for students to complete. Data can be broken down for an individual student, a specific class or for the entire school, highlighting where more instruction may be needed.
  • Board members received a report on the school system’s Infinite Campus program from Larry Curell, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Pupil Personnel for Carroll County Schools. The emphasis for Infinite Campus is trading paper for internet technology in an effort to make the school system more environmentally friendly.
  • Field trip requests, staff attendance records, disciplinary referrals and attendance reports are items that can be filed electronically to save paper waste. District student handbooks, procedure books and staff handbooks would be produced electronically and available to read online, Curell said. Paper can also be saved by emailing notices and other updates to parents rather than sending home notes with students. However, paper copies could still be produced for those who do not have access to the documents online.
  • Curell said Infinite Campus can help meet the goals of the district with regard to environmental issues by improving district-wide recycling. “We can also educate our students about environmental practices,” he said, helping them to become better protectors of the environment.
  • “A Champion for Kids” awards were presented by Lisa James, Carroll County schools superintendent, to: Lisa Weedman, high school English/Journalism teacher; Richelle Wheeler, high school secretary; and Nancy Simpson, instructional coach at the high school.