CHALLENGES TO CONSIDER
When it comes to learning, the physical environment matters. Many USD 418 classrooms present barriers for student success, including:
Poor temperature regulation
Insufficient outlets for plugging in computers
Lack of space for group learning
These factors limit learning opportunities and are distractions for students and staff. In addition, in today’s project-driven classrooms, students and staff need flexible space for collaboration.
FACILITIES IMPACT LEARNING
Hattie, John. “Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement.” (2008)
Nye, Barbara, Spyros Konstantopoulos, and Larry Hedges. “How large Are Teachers effects?” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 26, no. 3 (2004): 237-57
Barrett, Peter, Fay Davies, Yufan Zhang, and Lucinda Barrett. “The impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning: Final results of a holistic, multi-level analysis.” Building and Environment 89 (2015): 118-133.
The expected lifespan for a typical school building is 50 years. Once a facility reaches this age, its mechanical systems and structures need extensive renovations or to be replaced entirely.
More than half of our district buildings have exceeded that number, and all but one will reach this milestone in the next 10 years.
In addition, older buildings were not designed with sufficient safety and security measures.
WE HAVE A LOT OF BUILDINGS...AND THEY'RE AGING
Many students are bussed from their main campus to another location for special classes, especially in the Middle and High Schools. This causes the student to miss time in two classes every day. We also have to account for drive time of teachers and coaches who have groups at multiple buildings, which takes away from their instructional time.
Sports and activities also get shuffled to different community buildings, due to lack of available performance space at our buildings. Our coaches and teachers, who coordinate transportation and scheduling, spend endless hours trying to find available spaces for students to play and perform. The burden then gets passed to families, who have to figure out school drop-offs and pick-ups for sports practices and games at various campuses.
UTILIZATION & COMMUNITY DEMOGRAPHICS
In the next 50 years, projections show our community’s makeup will look very different. The McPherson County birth rate is declining by 1/3, which will impact the number of students we have per building.
BIRTH RATE DECLINING BY 1/3
McPherson County 2020-2070
RETENTION & RECRUITMENT
When potential residents are choosing a community to raise a family, quality of local schools is a crucial part of their decision. Achievements in academics and activities are not enough; they see facilities as a reflection of a community’s investment in education.
With baby boomers retiring and teachers leaving the profession, the number of available teachers is declining while demand continues to climb. Staff positions are even more difficult to fill: Bus drivers, maintenance staff, food service staff, and paraeducators to name a few.
Projected Teacher Supply & Demand
In previous facilities conversations, the community asked about the possibility of private funding for facilities—especially for athletics. As a result, the Board of Education conducted a fundraising feasibility study earlier this year with large local employers and individual benefactors. This study indicated that the total amount of available private funds is $1 million.
A capital campaign is currently underway to fund enhancements to the new field at MHS, including lights and bleachers. So far, nearly $650,000 has been raised. This facility has already proven to be an asset, as it allows MHS and MMS to practice for many activities without relying on other community facilities. These include physical education classes, band practices, and a variety of athletic practices and events.
If you are interested in contributing to this project, please call Central Office at 620-241-9400.