By Tim Leeds
Havre Public Schools has its plans made to do the massive job of moving 2/3 of three elementary schools and all of another, in the short course of one summer.
"We are also even prepared for rain, if we ever get any In fact, we are hoping for the challenge," Ric Floren, director of operations, said.
Floren said district personnel have tarps and a covered truck ready to shelter the materials moved if there is any rain.
The moving plans, to convert the four area elementary schools into three grade-level schools, are scheduled throughout the summer. They'll begin at one school, boxing and moving materials for grades which will be at a different school. Then they'll move to another school to continue the process.
Part of the plans for restructuring, to meet the difficulties of reduced budgets caused by declining enrollments, was to close Devlin Elementary School and to restructure the others so all kindergarten and first-grade classes will be at Highland Park Elementary, all second- and third-grade classes at Lincoln-McKinley Elementary and all fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Sunnyside Elementary. The challenge is moving the teachers and their materials to the schools they will now be teaching at.
"We have a plan (for the move) that we think is fairly well articulated." Floren said. "What we don't know is the 10,000 bugaboos that will arise"
"There has been a lot of attention paid, from conception to details, with a lot of attention that details will be changing," Superintendent Kirk Miller said. "The team Ric has put together will certainly be able to adapt as difficulties arise, so that on Aug. 27, our doors will be open to teachers, and on Aug. 29, we will be ready to welcome our students back to the high quality environment they are used to."
The district has assembled a team of six additional summer workers for the move, with two to box materials and four to do the moving. Floren said they also will be doing much of the work normally done over the summer, anyway cleaning and maintaining the schools. He said two other summer positions usually filled will not be needed this summer because of the work the moving crew will do.
The teachers have the option of sorting out what materials they want to keep and what they don't, boxing it if they wish to. Or the moving crew can box all of their materials, or just what they want to keep.
Floren said Thursday and Friday, May 30 and June 1, will be used to remove any unneeded and unwanted materials that have accumulated, for 30 years or more in some cases.
"Monday, June 4, the first truck will roll, so to speak," he said.
That is when the process of the actual stripping the rooms and moving the boxes will begin. Floren said one team will strip the rooms and move the materials, then another will come in to clean the room. The furniture will also be cleaned during the move.
The problems in the move include sorting and moving all library materials to the appropriate schools, and moving about 125 computers from the classrooms to the new classrooms.
One major question, what will happen to the closed Devlin school building, has not been decided yet. Floren said he thinks any decision on that is at least six months away, partially because it is the last school that will be moved. He said the options of leasing, renting or selling the building could all be possibilities for the board of trustees to consider.
Whatever is done with the building, it will be a complicated process, Floren said.
"The disposal of some piece of property like that is more technical than putting an ad in the paper," he said.