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Increase in students leads to Lennox Elementary construction project

With an increase in student numbers, expansion was needed at Lennox Elementary.

Superintendent Chad Conaway noted the Lennox School District has been graduating classes in the mid-60s for the past few years, but that will change with the class of 2022. This year’s freshman class has 85 students, followed by 96 in the eighth grade and 92 in the seventh grade. Fifth and sixth grade are at 87 and 92, respectively.

Typically they limit junior kindergarten to 17 students. However, during the 2018-19 school year, they had 34 enrolled in junior kindergarten, resulting in two sections and using the last classroom space at Lennox Elementary. This year’s kindergarten class has 95 students. First grade has 82, second grade has 78, third grade has 90 and fourth grade has 87.

Total enrollment on count day on Sept. 28 was 1,123.75 students district-wide.

Conaway said during kindergarten roundup this spring they had 116 children come. He said 16 were interested in junior kindergarten and the remaining 100 would be in kindergarten this fall.

“This past year we had one of the largest kindergarten classes that we’ve ever had,” Conaway said.

With only 16 interested in junior kindergarten for the 2019-20 school year, Conaway is planning on four sections of 20 students each at Lennox Elementary and one section of 20 kindergartners at Worthing Elementary.

With the increase in students, the district needs to expand Lennox Elementary. Conaway said bid opening was set for April 30. They will award the bid at the May 13 school board meeting. They will hold a pre-construction meeting May 23.

Phase 1 construction is scheduled to begin May 28. By then students and teachers will be wrapped up for the year.

Phase 1 will start with excavation south of the existing Lennox Elementary building. That area is the current playground.

Lennox Elementary parents received a letter in late April explaining how they will address recess next school year. Elementary students will walk to the city park about two blocks south of the school. The letter notes that recess at the beginning of the day will be in the gym. There will be no morning recess, but they will have lunch and afternoon recess.

“I assume there will be more gym recesses on cold weather days. Mr. Eich has done some rescheduling to do a little bit longer block for recess, because they’ll be walking, to give them more time to do that,” Conaway said. “More planning will come during the reconstruction meeting to work out all those details.”

During construction, bus pickup and dropoff will remain the same on the north side of the building.

Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed in June 2020. Phase 1 will add classrooms and library space.

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