Bond Project Update
The beginning of summer means more construction for projects funded by the school bond approved by voters in 2014. While some projects like the new Highland Park Central Elementary entrance, perimeter fencing and panic buttons are complete, there are other projects that are underway or are just beginning.
Construction on emergency shelters and gymnasiums is scheduled to begin this month or early July at McCarter, Quincy and Whitson Elementary Schools.
Renovation of science classrooms at Topeka West High School, French and Robinson Middle Schools is underway. The new classrooms are scheduled to be finished by the time school begins in August.
The inside of the Boisen Building has been gutted. The building is the future home of Capital City High School. It is located just east of the current Capital City School building, which will become the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers.
Construction of the new Jardine Elementary School building, the largest bond project, won’t begin until the end of the year with a completion date of March 2017. Some pre-construction work on the grounds near the school is set to begin in September of this year.
Bond Projects Update
Nearly a year after voters approved a $143-million school bond for Topeka Public Schools, two school project are finished and several other projects will be completed in the coming months. The first major project was at Highland Park Central Elementary School. The school’s new entrance and addition allows younger students to now go from their classroom to other parts of the school without going outside. Previously, students had to leave their classroom and go outside to re-enter the building. It was not safe and it meant students had to go out in the weather to get back into the school building.
A second project just completed was putting perimeter fencing at nine elementary schools. Most schools had some fencing around playgrounds and parking lots, but some of it needed to be replaced or added. New gates were added to several schools as well. The biggest fencing project was at Bishop Elementary School. The fencing additions will allow for secure access to playgrounds and school parking lots.
A project to improve exterior lighting at schools and buildings throughout the district is well underway. Schools had some outdoor lighting before, but it needed to be updated. To improve safety and security around schools, new exterior lighting has been added at many of our high schools and middle schools. Improved sightlines and modified landscaping around schools will also add to increased safety. New exterior lighting will be added to elementary schools in the coming months.
One of the security measure projects still underway is the addition of panic buttons at all schools and building in the school district. About half of the schools now have the buttons. The buttons will mean quicker response time to a school in a case of an emergency. All schools and buildings should have panic buttons installed by the end of this month.
Later this month, service center workers will begin installing safety and security window film in school entranceways. The window film will make it more difficult for an intruder to break into a building and should be a deterrent to vandalism of school property.
Coming up in the next few months, construction will begin on another major project funded by the school bond and that is the emergency shelters and gymnasiums. A total of 12 schools will get either a storm shelter or a new gymnasium that will have reinforced walls and roofs to provide protection for students and staff during severe weather.
January 12, 2015
French Middle School eighth graders each received new Chromebooks today as part of a pilot program that offers students technological resources to use in the classroom and at home. The students listened to a presentation about digital citizenship and the do’s and don’ts of how to handle the device, then checked out their own Chromebooks, which they will return at the end of the school year. A meeting at French will take place tonight to inform parents of the same expectations....
Principal Kelli Hoffman is eager for her students to begin using the laptops. “I think Chromebooks will assist students in acquiring 21st century skills. These will really help kids learn the skills they need to be successful. It will also help level the playing field for many students who may not have access to other resources,” she said.
The students were also excited about their new learning tool. Eli, one of the students receiving a Chromebook, said, “We can use it in the classroom to make learning easier. We don’t have to do a lot of paper assignments anymore.” Classmate Ayanna agreed, saying, “It’s pretty cool because it can help us keep track of our things because it will all be in one spot and it should be with us at all times.”
The Chromebooks are part of the “Securing our Future” bond initiative that voters approved last April. The bond provides for numerous security and technological enhancements throughout the district.
Sixteen of 22 projects of phase one are underway related to the $143 million bond issue approved by voters in April.
· New, secure entrance at Highland Park Central to be completed January 2015
· Security window film and panic buttons at all buildings, completed by February 2015
· Security camera system at Eisenhower Middle School, finished this month
· Perimeter security fencing at Ross is completed, nearly finished at Shaner
· Updated science labs at all middle and high schools
· Design work for FEMA shelters at McCarter, Quincy, Whitson, McEachron, Randolph, Lowman Hill
· Design phase underway for Topeka Center for Advanced Learning & Careers
· Select construction manager for largest project, construction of a new elementary school and re-modeling of Jardine Middle School
School board members were told that all projects approved by the bond vote will be completed and that the total projects costs should come within the dollar amount approved by voters.