Architects Reveal Plans To Renovate Woodlan High School

By John W. Davis

August 24, 2011 Updated Aug 24, 2011 at 10:56 PM EDT

WOODBURN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Community members got their first look at blueprints to renovate Woodlan Junior/Senior High School.

The renovation project is a part of the East Allen County Schools Redesign plan.

Architects from RQAW are leading the project.

They say the converting Woodlan Junior/Senior High School into a K-12 campus will save the district money.

They cite having all the students in that attendance area under one roof as a cost saving measure, partly by lowering energy costs.

They feel that structure will allow for existing space to be utilized more efficiently.

Planners also want to make key technology updates.

However, fewer than 10 parents actually showed up to Wednesday night's meeting.

But the few who did, were eager to chime in.

Architects have hosted previous community members and pointed out their current design plan shows they have been listening to community concerns.

That's why K-6th and 7th-12th graders will have separate entrances and separate classroom wings of the building.

They will also have separate art, music and gym space.

Younger and older students will only share a media room.

Parents who attended the meeting said they were happy to see that younger students will not have much hallway interaction with older students.

However, they wished design plans would include a separate elementary school bus drop-off point, a larger elementary school gym and a totally separate elementary media room.

"We need to utilize common facilities like gymnasiums and the like for the community and therefore they do need to be adequate," said Woodburn Resident Jayne Numbers.

"The current renderings keep only one side of the gymnasium with bleachers et cetera. I'd like to see it be bigger than that," Numbers continued.

"If this is going to be a campus environment, I think they need to bring somewhat together in a common area for parents who have elementary children and high school children. You have some schedules that conflict by maybe 30 minutes," suggested Harlan Resident Todd Widdifield.

Meanwhile, RQAW architects said their next step will be to incorporate community feedback while they finalize design plans.

They will also determine how much the renovations will cost.

Final plans will be presented at a public hearing, which will be held in conjunction will an East Allen County Schools Board meeting, Tuesday, September 20.

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