Monroe Elementary sees change first

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Countdown to Prom

by Ashley Miller

After receiving revenue for construction from three different sources—10 million from a general obligation bond passed by voters on Feb. 2 last year, 8.8 million of sales tax bonds, and approximately three million dollars of cash on hand—the PCM Community School District has begun making its renovations. With plans for each of the four schools, the first on the list for change was the Monroe Elementary. The elementary is receiving the least amount of work with most of it occurring inside the school. Construction began last summer, but a majority of the work has been done this school year.

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(L) The temporary main office during construction on the new one. (R) Secretary Kathy Van Wyngarden sits at her desk in the newly renovated main office.

“The purpose of the bond issue was to do some renovation for the main office area and entryway to make that more secure. Then we renovated the special ed classrooms to make new ones and new restrooms down in the fourth and fifth grade wing,” Monroe Elementary Principal Ryan Roozeboom said. “We also got a new heating and cooling system, so the school would have air conditioning.”

Air conditioning has been something the staff and students have been looking forward to for quite some time. “Due to some special education needs over the past three years that I’ve been here, we’ve put in some single units to air condition certain rooms where a student had to have air conditioning. But, for the entire school it’s been something people have been waiting for for a long time,” Roozeboom said.

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A student works with a teacher in the newly renovated special ed classroom./by Jacki Grier

With the new heating and cooling system students won’t lose as much instructional time due to extreme heat, and the new entryway provides security for the students and safety for those wanting to visit.

There were some downsides to the construction, however. Parts of the fourth and fifth grade wing were blocked off until the end of first semester, and the secretaries had to set up in a temporary main office while they worked on the real one.

When asked how the faculty and students reacted to the construction Roozeboom said, “Really well. In the fourth and fifth grade wing where they rebuilt the special ed rooms and the bathrooms, that created a pretty big inconvenience as we lost about a third of our lockers. We lost the restrooms there, too, so all students in the building had to use the restrooms we have down by our office, which we also lost for awhile. The teachers and staff are really flexible and have gone with the flow as well have the students really.”

With the work on Monroe Elementary coming to a close this summer, the other three buildings are next in line with some major exterior changes. The high school will be getting rid of the portable and adding additional classrooms, and the middle school and Prairie City Elementary will be connected. Work on the Prairie City cite will begin as early as March, and they are hoping to begin on the high school this upcoming fall.