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Katt tells committee district's pared-down needs





Hays USD 489 Superintendent Dean Katt presented the administration's pared-down needs list during a four-hour meeting of the facilities needs committee Tuesday morning.

The committee has been gathering information to make a recommendation to the district's board of education.

Katt said building principals discussed "what could be pared down and still meet the district's needs."

"When Shanna (Dinkel, interim curriculum director) and I met with the principals, one of the things we looked at is do we have adequate space," said Mark Hauptman, assistant superintendent of special services. "What we found was, (it's) just adequate. There will be a few challenges. There's no excess space to be considered."

The school district has 12 sections of kindergarten to third grade, and 11 sections of grades four to five.

Katt's proposal calls for 14 sections per grade level spread among four elementary schools. That means Washington Elementary School would be closed. A majority of the committee agreed with the proposal to close the school.

Under the administration's proposal, no additional classrooms would be added at Lincoln Elementary School. However, the district's early childhood classrooms would be moved to a new addition at Wilson Elementary School.

"That would give them a place to be located altogether," Katt said.

The move would free up classrooms in Lincoln and Roosevelt.

A new cafeteria and gym would be added to Lincoln, as well as an elevator.

O'Loughlin Elementary School would remain a three-section school. The proposal calls for an addition to the cafeteria, kitchen and music room.

Roosevelt would expand to six sections. A gym and cafeteria would be added to accommodate the additional students.

"Everything that they have on their list is what we would have to go with to accommodate that," Katt said.

Wilson would have four sections. In addition to the early childhood classrooms, the proposal also calls for a new cafeteria and gym.

Improvements to the football field and track have been crossed off the list of improvements at Hays Middle School. The renovated entrance, cafeteria, gym and wrestling and locker area remain in the proposal.

The gym and wrestling area are necessary additions, Hauptman said.

"We were doing (grade) eight, and now we're doing (grade) seven -- boys and girls activities," he said.

Hays High School administrators ranked their priorities.

Items on the list are a new auditorium and entrance area, career technology education classrooms, and a gym. Improvements to the sports complex have been eliminated, and if early childhood classrooms are moved out of the building, it frees up space for additional classrooms.

The proposal also calls for some buildings to get new special education units.

Katt also proposed closing Rockwell Administration Center and moving offices to a leased facility until long-term accommodations are available. A separate building near Hays High would house the district maintenance shop and the Learning Center.

The committee's general consensus was to agree with the administration's recommendations, as a starting point, and asked HTK representatives for cost estimates.

"We haven't done anything significant for a generation, and what we're trying to do is put together a proposal for the next generation," said Tom Drees, committee member. "We're looking at a 30-year cycle."