WOOSTER — Several Wooster residents shared their concerns at a community meeting on Monday that included the future of Cornerstone Elementary School, saying it had historic significance, with one person even calling it “an icon in this community. “.
They also asked Superintendent Gabe Tudor about the school-level configuration and overall costs of the City of Wooster Schools Master Plan during the session to review the plan.
Council heard members of the Core Planning Committee share updates and their latest recommendations, which include level strips and new buildings.
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The board took no action on the master plan, but Tudor said it would likely be discussed at next week’s regular school board meeting on Tuesday, April 26, and in greater depth at the following regular school board meeting. council on May 24.
Some community members felt that the district had failed to take into account the public’s thoughts on the master plan, particularly with Cornerstone, which, with the exception of the gymnasium and nursery school, would be replaced by a new K-2 building in the current master plan.
“I think the value to the community of this building has to be weighed against the funding we can get from the OFCC, and I think there will be a lot of backlash,” said a community member.
The community has several opportunities to voice concerns about the master plan at public meetings
Tudor said he held four community meetings during the school year and has several future presentations where he hopes to continue to hear from the community and answer their questions.
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He also shared that many members of the Planning Steering Committee, which is made up of 37 community members, teachers and district administrators, see Cornerstone’s historical significance and accessibility for many community members.
“One of the things we love about Cornerstone and its location is how many families walk to this school,” Tudor said. “It’s hugely important to us and so we want to continue to maintain that presence in the south.”
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Members of the planning committee updated the board on the current status of the plan and their reasons for recommending the school layouts.
Scott Miller, a Wooster High School history teacher and committee member, said with the current makeup of schools, it can be difficult for teachers at the same grades to communicate about things like lessons and the general curriculum.
“Right now it’s a bit of a challenge for the grade levels to meet cohesively because of the needs of different buildings,” Miller said. “…So moving to a quality brand approach would be a step towards 21st century classroom delivery.”
Abigail Orchard, who is a kindergarten teacher at Cornerstone and a member of the committee, shared that following the grade range approach would not only help in the classroom, but also in aspects of equipping the building for the needs. specific to each age group.
Looking at spaces such as Cornerstone and some older buildings, Assistant Superintendent Brian Madigan said the difficulty they find comes from finding rooms to complete renovations and having the funding to do so.
Board chair Sue Herman said she and several other board members see the importance of Cornerstone but understand that if the district goes ahead with renovations, it could risk losing the funding that was offered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
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The next steps in the Wooster City Schools master plan
After hearing feedback from the community and the board, Tudor said the architectural firm working with the committee, GPD Group, will conduct a new assessment of Cornerstone later this week using the criteria used by the State in 2018. The conclusions of this evaluation will be shared. with the Committee and the Board at a future Board meeting.
Although the committee has made several recommendations this school year, Tudor said the board has not yet voted on the master plan and has until it feels ready to do so. He said the board could choose to vote on it at next week’s meeting, next month’s meeting or even next year.
Architect Mark Salopek, a member of the GDP Group, said the amount of funding the district could get from the OFCC, totaling $33 million, is only “locked in” for next year and could change after that. this moment.
Overall, Tudor reminded the board that while many committee members, including himself, support the current master plan, several community members disagree.
Contact Rachel Karas at [email protected]
On Twitter: @RachelKaras3