Community members will have opportunities to view design plans and offer input each day during a five-day span

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Members of the Crook County School District's Elementary School Design Committee review plans for the new facility

Next week, the Crook County School District's Elementary School Design Committee is inviting the community to weigh in on plans for the new facility.

Starting Monday Nov. 18, BLRB Architects, the firm selected to design the building, will be on site to gather input from school staff, students, family members, and other local residents.

"It is to give the staff and students -- as well as mom and dad and the general public -- an idea of where we are and where the design of the new elementary school is going," said Jerry Milstead, the district's construction project manager.

The architect firm will host a daylong sessions throughout the week starting at Cecil Sly Elementary on Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they will meet with people at Ochoco Elementary, and on Thursday and Friday at Crooked River Elementary.

The sessions start at 8 a.m. and last through mid-evening.

“A lot of people work during the day,” Milstead said, regarding the all-day sessions. “They may not necessarily have time to come.”

At this point, the design committee has met several times and developed a plan for the school. They met with the architect firm regarding how many students the school will serve, how many classrooms the facility will need, and how the building will look.

“We took a tour of some schools and looked at a couple different concepts of how an elementary school is put together for teaching purposes,” Milstead said.

After considering different options, they decided to go with a pod concept, where groups of five classrooms are built around a common area. The school would be two floors and about 70,000 square feet.

Although much of the design is determined, it could change based upon the input they receive.

“I think the more people we have reviewing the ideas and concepts, the better the design is going to be,” said District Superintendent Duane Yecha. “We would hope that people would consider attending these meetings to provide us with their insight and suggestions.”

Patti Norris feels the same Way. The school board chair and design committee member is hoping the sessions will generate brilliant ideas and ways to improve the new school.

“No matter how many people you have on the committee, there is always a good idea somewhere else,” she said.

After the meetings next week, in mid-December, Milstead expects to recruit a contractor to help the design committee to develop plans in more detail. They hope to start moving dirt in March or April of next year.

“We are excited about how it is all going,” Norris said. “I think we have come up with a really great start on a design and are looking forward to sharing that with everyone and getting their input on the process.”

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