By TIM HORAN
Abilene school facility needs have been narrowed down to five primary locations.
The USD 435 Board of Education has been meeting with architect Keith Blackburn with HTK Architects.
All five schools are under the recommended square footage recommendations for K-12 facilities by today’s standards.
“The architects have looked at the buildings, visited with all building administrators, and are presenting a shopping list of needs for the district of which there are many,” said Denise Guy, Abilene superintendent.
“We’re going to pull together a committee to present more of a plan,” she said.
The areas that the school district is looking at include:
• What to do with Garfield (remodel or build new). Current square footage at Garfield is 19,468 square feet of classroom space while the recommended footage is 25,600.
• Address special education and science space concerns at AMS. The square footage of the Abilene Middle School is 55,692 while the recommended space for education is 73,406.
• Locker rooms for the football stadium and Abilene High School.
• Consideration of a new auditorium and a new gym at the High School.
• Building safety for all district facilities, particularly regarding the main entrances.
“You can’t just open a door and let everyone walk in,” Blackburn told the board at a recent meeting. “Everybody has to go to the office. The way it is now, you can walk into (the Middle School) and nobody would know you are there.”
“Before we get too serious with anything, we will be talking with the staff and talking with the community, to get a feel from them, what direction we should take,” Guy said.