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School Board approves plan for Oak Grove relocation

Posted on: February 26, 2018

At its Feb. 26 meeting, the GAPS School Board unanimously approved a plan for the one-year relocation of Oak Grove students during the reconstruction of Oak Grove Elementary School.

The Board approved what was known as Option 1.


Kinder 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total Classrooms
Fir Grove 3 Fir Grove 3 Fir Grove 6 of 7
NAES 1 NAES 1 NAES 1 NAES 3 OG 2 NAES 2 OG 2 NAES 3 OG 15 of 16

Project manager David McKay estimated that two modular buildings and a separate modular restroom facility would cost $230,000 for the 14-month period.Before the Board voted, they discussed costs and educational priorities for all options under consideration, including bringing in temporary modular classrooms, which were likely not feasible due to cost and city permit approval timelines and building separate, temporary restrooms either in the school or as separate structures. This, too, was cost prohibitive and faced challenges seeking permits in time for school to start in the fall.

Superintendent Jim Golden said he believes that this plan is the least disruptive plan for students and allows the district to manage costs efficiently. He said the district may face a budget shortfall next year due to anticipated inadequate state funding levels and he couldn’t recommend a plan with unnecessarily high costs.

Parents and staff have had several opportunities to hear about the options under consideration. Two community forums were held and a survey collected input about preferred plans. The survey, according to Assistant Tonja Everest, showed a fairly even split from parents and staff. “Faculty at both schools have indicated that they can work with either option. They are just waiting for direction from the board so they can plan,” she said.

She also said that the parent input included helpful comments from parents about activities and tactics to ease the transition for students.

Before voting, Board members shared that they had spoken extensively to parents and understood their concerns, but they believe this is the best educational option. To ease concerns about fifth-grade students entering North Albany Middle School a year early, they referred to the successful program at Timber Ridge, which has operated since opening as a grades 3-8 school.

“We need to think of North Albany as a complex and think of the students in North Albany as all of our kids — not Oak Grove kids or NAES kids,” said Board Chair Micah Smith.

Director Frank Bricker added that he believes the students will manage the transition well. “Kids are resilient. I believe they will be fine,” he said. “The priority is for a decision that supports the best education for them.”