by Jim Boyle
Contractors are itchin’ to get in to Parker Elementary School for a $5.9 million remodeling project, and the Elk River Area School District is interested in having the school ready for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The collision of these two factors have District 728 administrators preparing to release students one day earlier than their peers across the Elk River Area School District.
The March 5 snow day didn’t help matters, but Parker Principal Mike Malmberg explained the game plan as of this week.
Parker students will not make up the snow day, and they will go on an exclusive all-school field trip to the Minnesota Zoo on June 4 — the last regularly scheduled day of school.
The students’ second to last regularly scheduled day of school will be altered, too, to expand on the school’s original plans to have a PBIS Rewards Day. It will include a lyceum, an awards program and a year-end video produced by the school’s news media club. Some added outside time and bag lunches time will be sprinkled in to expedite the building project prep work.
Teachers and staff will start the process of tearing down classrooms, the kitchen and whatever else it can to give contractors a jump.
Administrators do not want a repeat of the Zimmerman Elementary School project, for which the start of school had to be delayed.
“Two days now could gain you a lot toward the end,” Principal Mike Malmberg said.
Jana Hennen-Burr, the assistant superintendent in charge of educational services, agreed.
“It’s far better to (close school early) than getting into the school late,” Hennen-Burr told members of the Elk River Area School Board at its March 18 work session.
Malmberg said administrators and Ebert Construction officials have done some pre-planning to get some abatement done over spring break this week.
The plan is to turn the school over to contractors completely on June 5.
To make that happen, Malberg is tapping one of his teachers, James Knaresboro, who works at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley for a special all-school, daylong field trip.
Knaresboro, who leads a science club at the school, works at the zoo in the summers and will have added access to the facility.
“Kids will get some of the behind the scenes,” said Malmberg, who also presented information on how the field trip ties into the state standards, especially the science standards.
Teachers will finish up their school year with workshops at Lincoln Elementary School and Elk River High School.