Update is given on planning for buildings at Benton Community

Benton Community School District

Board Goal Facilities and Infrastructure Assessment & Study

COMMUNICATION UPDATE – 9/29/20

Benton Community has always derived great pride from its schools. This year, more than ever, has demonstrated what a critical role our schools play in our communities, while quality learning can and has taken place at home and offline. Schools are about community, relationships, routines, and traditions. Schools thrive in brick and mortar buildings. That is why, in December 2019. which seems like a very long time ago in light of recent events, the Benton Community School District began the process of searching for an architecture firm to assist the district in developing a long-range facility master plan.

Ultimately, in June, the board selected OPN Architects to conduct a thorough assessment and analysis of our districts facilities and site. The project kicked off in July with plans to begin assessments as the school year was starting, Then, as we all know, on August 10 our communities, including all the districts buildings, were catastrophically damaged by the derecho storm, and those plans were put on hold.

We still believe firmly in the process and the plan. This year has certainly affirmed that it is critical that our district is prepared. not just for the immediate needs as we reenter our buildings but also to develop a roadmap of prioritized needs and funding options to guide district decisions in facility improvements and possible changes or expansion now and into the future.

We also know that our families and community are still reeling from all 2020 has thrown at us. That is why the district has decided to postpone any next steps until October.

Therefore, our plans will begin again in October as we begin assessing and studying our facilities and enrollment trends. When we resume, we want this process to be transparent and include as many voices as possible.

There will be opportunities for the entire community to tour our schools, ask questions, and share their thoughts about district facility needs. Another critical component of the planning process is the Facilities Advisory Committee made up of parents, staff, community members, business owners, students, and school board members. This group will be tasked with setting priorities that will ultimately shape long-range timelines that balance needs and wants with available funding.

Ultimately. the goal is to identify a plan to present to the school board that the committee can unanimously agree best meets needs of our students, staff and community.

These are your schools. Your input is vital. If you have any questions regarding this process, please reach out to Superintendent Dr. Pamela Ewell at pewell@benton.k12.ia.us. We are excited to develop a vision for the future of our facilities that will best meet the needs of our students, staff and the community of Benton.

We hope you will join us in developing a plan that will shape the success of our students for years to come.

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