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USD 489 begins planning for future





Preliminary options based on the facilities study being conducted by HTK Architects for the Hays USD 489 Board of Education run the gamut from maintaining the existing structures as they are to building new ones.

Board members got their first look at the findings at Monday night's work session at Hays High School

They approved the study in April at a cost of $60,000.

"Through this process, you're going to have some options fixing what you have, to maybe some radical concepts to make your operation and education more efficient and effective," said Charles R. Smith, vice president of HTK.

Superintendent Will Roth was absent.

Smith said he tells school boards to "not necessarily think about what you need tomorrow or in five years, but ... where do want to be in 20 years from now."

General problems in all of the district's buildings include lack of classroom space, aging building stock and old systems. Most of them need more cafeteria space, secure entries, storm shelters and better handicap accessibility.

Smith presented four concepts to address the facility needs.

The first was to make no changes and maintain structures as they are now.

"You still have issues that have dollars assigned to them," Smith said.

The second recommendation is to maintain and upgrade the current buildings to meet the needs identified.

Some of the fixes might be costly or impractical to do, he said.

The third concept is to expand and upgrade existing buildings.

It would "expand current facilities that had room on the site to expand on," said Zach Snethen, HTK project manager.

The final concept is to consolidate and upgrade.

Consolidating and expanding could include closing some elementary schools and consolidating students in the other buildings. That might include using the current middle school as an elementary school, and building a new middle school or a new high school. The current high school could be converted to a middle school.

Having a middle school on the same parcel of land with the high school could develop a campus, and the two could share some spaces, Snethen said.

Some choices would require a bond referendum. Smith said he will have a cost analysis of the options at the October work session.

"It's all wonderful concepts here, but nothing's going to happen if there's a bond issue here, and the bond issue doesn't get passed," board member Richard Kraemer said.