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Committee discusses possible changes





With consensus on many of the building improvement items list, the USD 489 facilities needs committee is getting closer to making a recommendation to the board of education.

It appears likely the committee will recommend Washington Elementary School close, but the building still might be used for other programs.

Recommended improvements at the district's other elementary schools could include classroom additions at Roosevelt and Wilson, new gyms and cafeterias at most schools and special education additions.

Committee members haven't signed off on Hays Middle School improvements yet, but the list of possible improvements includes a new cafeteria, gym, wrestling room and office and entry area.

The Hays High School list calls for a new auditorium, gym and tech classrooms.

Committee consensus is to close Rockwell Administration Center and move those programs and offices elsewhere.

If that happens, Early Childhood Connections offices and classrooms would move to new space at Wilson, and The Learning Center and district warehouse would move to a new building on the Hays High site.

The first option was to move Westside Alternative School into the Munjor building, now occupied by some early childhood services.

With a price tag of nearly $1 million to upgrade and renovate the Munjor building, the committee is considering other alternatives, including renting space in Hays or moving the school into the Washington building.

"I didn't think we were going to invest that much money in Munjor," Young said.

"You can rent a lot of space for a million bucks," BOE President Greg Schwartz said.

The committee discussed the need to get community input and the possibility of a Docking Institute of Public Affairs survey, but didn't reach a consensus or set a timeline on either.

Dustin Avey, PiperJaffray senior vice president, gave a financing analysis on the preliminary cost estimates.

The board of education will decide whether to act on the committee's recommendation and ask voters to approve a bond issue to pay for the improvements.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday.