Options to preserve part of old MS are presented

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     Preliminary design options for remodeling portions of the old Monticello Middle School were presented by Katie Harms of OPN Architects during a Monticello School Board work session June 10.

     The meeting was held in the former computer lab/production lab room adjacent to the high school library, which has become the new Administrative Board Room.

     With the new middle school still on track for a July 17 opening, the question of what to do with the old building has become a topic of much discussion within the Monticello Community School District.

     Harms showed slides of several plans, all of which had many things in common. In each case, the options call for preserving the east half of the building, roughly from the staircase in the commons to the east entrance.

     The large middle school gym and locker rooms would be preserved, as would the commons and kitchen, and loading dock and storage areas in the northeast part of the building. Also preserved would be the band and choir rooms, which would be combined and converted into a wrestling room for both the high school and middle school teams.

     The west portion of the building, which would include nearly all the classrooms, offices, the auditorium and the old gym, would all be torn down.

     The entrance and step area on the south side of the building, leading to the commons, could be converted into an outdoor courtyard area that could be used as an entertainment venue. The large green space that would be created west of the building could be used for outdoor family movie nights, with a giant, precast wall serving as a screen, Harms said.

     Several aesthetic changes to the outside of the building were part of the proposal.

     “I just think it creates something that we can still have a lot of use for,” Superintendent Brian Jaeger said.

     Harms said she hoped to have cost estimates available to the board in time for its June 22 regular meeting.

     “That’s the next step,” she said. “Right now we are just getting the documents ready to be able to send to a cost estimator, so we’ll know where we’re at with costs.”

     Funding for the renovation would come from the school district’s SAVE (sales tax) account, Jaeger said.

In other board business

     • The board went through four of the district’s handbooks, including the teacher, administrative staff, support staff and Panther Academy staff handbooks. Jaeger reported on changes being made to the 2020-21 editions.

     The biggest changes was to the Panther Academy Staff Handbook, where sick leave, personal leave and bereavement leave benefits were extended to all Panther Academy staff. Previously, only the Panther Academy director received these benefits.


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