Havre Public Schools’ boost in kindergarten students luckily happened right after Highland Park Early Primary School finished some renovations, but now the district has to look at where those students are going to be headed.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Sunnyside Intermediate School Principal Marlin Lewis showed and told the trustees about the need for space in his building and what the district is just now doing about it.
The district has received a $25,000 planning grant from the Montana Department of Commerce to look into giving Havre’s fourth- and fifth-graders a bit more room.
Superintendent Andy Carlson said the grant is “very similar” to the grant that funded the planning of the Highland Park work a few years ago.
Thomas, Dean and Hoskins, the engineering firm behind the Havre High School roof repair and upgrade, are working on making the building a little roomier, which Carlson said is desperately needed.
“We have classrooms with 48 people in them at a time, ” Carlson said.
“We just have no space. ”
Lewis showed the trustees photos taken in the school of students having to study in the hallways and said the gym is also the cafeteria and music classes are taught in the school library.
Carlson said the entry way and front office areas are frequently uncomfortably cramped, which he’d like to change, with “maybe a little more welcoming place for families and kids getting off the bus. It’s kind of like a chute instead of an entry area. ”
He added that this process is still in its early days and that the district is “a long ways away from any dirt being moved. ”
While the unexpectedly large kindergarten class will have to pass through Lincoln-McKinley Primary School first, Carlson said certain limitations made Sunnyside the school to upgrade, including a state safety law that first- and second-grade students can’t be placed on a second floor.
Carlson said the district will be watching how big the next few classes will be. If they continue to stay as big as this year’s, or even grow further, Carlson said the district will have to consider its options, like possibly reorganizing which classes are in which buildings in town.
Otherwise, Carlson said, “if you don’t see the large classes behind (these), adjustments might just have to be for a few years. ”