In the approximate two weeks since the Mineola School District had and the next meeting of the , progress was already being seen on the construction site.
Displaying a timeline for the project showing the amount of work which was completed February 2, Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler went over a number of photographs showing the workers’ progress at the January 19 meeting at the .
“One of the hiccups we had in the excavation, we found three drywells buried underground so we had to remove those and compact that soil before we could begin some of the excavation,” he said.
Many of the photos showed the pouring of concrete footings and form walks, foundation walls and an area for a garden staked off by yellow poles.
“The good news is we’re pouring concrete, things are moving well and we’re on schedule so far,” the superintendent said.
Construction workers are using a special technique to pour the concrete during the cold weather. According to the district architect, all materials and water are heated and blankets are used at night to keep the concrete warm in order to cure properly. There have been no complaints from inside the building of noise from the crews working.
The superintendent next displayed a floor plan for the , noting several changes which would result due to to the on the northern wing. The old fifth grade wing where bathrooms inside each individual class do not exist will be for the older grades while the space formally occupied by special education would be modified to create a fourth room. A pair of speech rooms and a special education space would also be broken up since they are large spaces. Music would be taught in a flexible space while the old library would become a special class OT/PT. This space has not yet been designed and the district may install a special entrance. Art and ESL would move towards the gym wing of the building. The district is also looking at expanding the windows in the classrooms.
The movement in rooms opens a new flex space in the north wing, so music instruction – currently located in the south wing – would move to the northern end. Dr. Nagler stated that in order for the moves to occur, a new wall and door is needed in the flex room – which can be done over a break – and the sinks in the art room must be repurposed. The majority of the work would occur over the summer, with the exception of the stage and a bathroom would be added in the special class space.
“That work will be carried out over the summer by our staff as well as packing up the old library and moving the furniture and everything else involved with moving teachers into that space,” he said.
Over at , school staff will take down current library shelving and rip up rugs. The school would have five classrooms each for kindergarten, first and second, a pre-k space and a special class with a flex space. The building would be gaining two rooms in addition to the new construction.
Maps of both schools show 15 classrooms, additional classrooms for special education, ESL, as well as art, library and music spaces and smaller spaces for smaller instructional purposes.
“It lays out very nicely,” Dr. Nagler said, noting that the only other change might be having two second grade classrooms on first floor of Hampton.
In response to a question from vice-President William Hornberger, the superintendent stated that pre-k can fit four classes in one room with a two-day, three-day morning/ afternoon configuration. The district currently has nine sections, three of which are universal pre-K (UPK). There are currently spaces for 54 children in the Mineola universal pre-K program.
“We could either earmark a school with taking UPK and then we’re going to have a little busing issue or we can look to outsource UPK to whomever rents (Willis) if we’re legally permissible to do that,” Dr. Nagler said, explaining that a pending court case would give the district the ability to outsource the program. “So it’s kind of premature to say where those three classes are going. So right now I’ve accounted for eight of the sections and that’s the notion of the flex space, so if you need to use the flex space, if one building would take the UPK, you can do that as well.”