FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The Stanley County School Board tabled a proposal that would have integrated a natural disaster shelter into a new elementary school that will be built in Fort Pierre. In February, the board voted unanimously to approve constructing a new elementary building-estimated to cost $4.755 million dollars. The new structure will house grades Junior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade. The new building will replace the current K-2 elementary school which is more than 50 years old and has been riddled with various structural issues. Superintendent Don Hotalling says the board looked at applying for grant money that would help pay for a “Safe Room” to be included in the new building. They discussed constructing some of the rooms in the building to specifications that would allow students, teachers and even community members to gather there as a safe place during severe weather or disasters. Hotalling says at last Monday’s meeting; the board tabled the idea to apply for the grant, in part because of the length of time it would take to find out whether the money would be awarded to the district.
He also says the grant specifications would likely not suit the building project as proposed. Hotalling says the board could possibly make a final decision on the safe room at its next scheduled meeting April 9 and the project will likely be put out for bids this spring.
Hotalling says plans call for the new school building in Fort Pierre to be open in the fall of 2013.
The new 35,000 square foot building will include classrooms, a gymnasium/lunchroom and administrative offices. It will be further off the highway which means the busy times before and after school when the youngsters are arriving and leaving will be safer. The new building will also result in the youngsters being centrally located on one part of the campus and they won’t have to switch back and forth between the elementary building and Parkview Gym at various times throughout the day. Hotalling says the district will continue to utilize Parkview for some classes for older students once the new elementary is complete.
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