Cape school district considers renovating, rebuilding Franklin Elementary School

Friday, June 26, 2009

As the facilities plan for the Cape Girardeau School District evolves, one of the remaining hurdles is deciding whether to renovate or rebuild Franklin Elementary School.

The facilities committee met Thursday night to review the first architectural plans of the project from local architect Phillip Smith. The committee, made up of administrators, teachers and parents, has been meeting since February to develop the plan.

School officials hosted three forums in March to gain community input. Feedback from the forums reflected a desire to keep Franklin Elementary at its current location on North Louisiana Avenue, said Neil Glass, director of administrative services. Built in 1928, Franklin is the oldest of the district's five elementary schools.

A preliminary idea during the planning process proposed building a new elementary school at a different location.

"I think there was a stronger consensus to stay in the neighborhood," he said.

Before drafting floor plans, staff from each building met with the architect starting in late March to express their educational needs, including requests for space, security, maintenance.

Smith is working with the district to draft structural plans for each building based on the discussions. Floor plans for Franklin are the first to emerge from process.

"There's always revisions and things we could incorporate to do differently," Smith said. Under the plan, there would be enough space to move fifth graders into the elementary school from the middle school, he said.

Plans for Franklin Elementary include a $4.6 million two-story addition that would include a kitchen, cafeteria, about ten classrooms and a driveway off Themis Street. Including renovations to the current building, the project would cost about $8.5 million, according to preliminary cost estimates.

The committee also considered building a new school on the same site, which would also have the addition. That project would cost about $11 million.

Blanchard Elementary, the district's newest elementary school, was built in 2000 for about $4 million, Glass said. Improvements to the newer school will also be considered in the facilities plan.

The committee will meet again in August to consider plans for the district's other nine buildings and make a decision about Franklin Elementary, Glass said. He said he hopes complete the first draft of a $35 million construction and renovation plan by the end of August.

"I'm very optimistic that we can get it to the board for approval in September," he said.

District officials have said they would like to approach voters with a no-tax-increase bond issue in April.

abusch@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

301 N. Clark Ave. Cape Girardeau, MO

215 N. Louisiana St. Cape Girardeau, MO

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