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Sand Hill Elementary Renovations In The Cards

SAND HILL — Marshall County Schools is looking at serious renovations to Sand Hill Elementary in the coming year, including the possible move to unify the modular units that make up the school into one building.

Facilities Director Mike Price said Tuesday that presented several concepts for improvements to the Marshall County Board of Education on Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, Price said the presentation was simply to give the board an idea of what their goals could look like, but with the ultimate goal of enhancing security at the school.

“We have to take care of several issues there; we’re trying to be a little proactive,” Price said. “I’m giving the board options on what we could do in the future, part of our next levy, if it passes, will be a large Sand Hill renovation project. (This) is just to show them a couple concepts we’re working on, what we can do in the future.”

Price said one priority of the renovation is to bring together the several buildings of the campus into one structure, which would allow for better security to the school. By getting studies underway now, Price said, they’ll be able to hit the ground running if they’re given the go-ahead by voters next year.

“When you’re getting into today’s security issues, the facility has a lot of age to it,” he said. “The study’s leaning to where we’re going to make it one facility and get rid of the multiple modular buildings we currently have.

“We recognize that we have some issues there,” he continued, “and we’re trying to be proactive, and not wait until the levy passes, then start the year-and-a-half-long project of doing the study we have now. We’ll have all our ducks in a row, and if the levy is passed, we’ll be able to start at Sand Hill right away.”

Price said the unique layout of Sand Hill provided a challenge to renovate, and he hopes that by undertaking the study early and approaching renovations carefully, the district can prudently use the funds allocated.

“We understand that that’s a unique situation there, and what we’re not trying to do is throw taxpayers’ money away by overhauling a modular (building) which there are three or four of them, which really doesn’t make sense,” Price said. “That’s why we came to the conclusion that it’s going to be a larger rehabilitation project. We kind of need to look at it from all kinds of safety standpoints. The infrastructure needs improved – there’s just too much that needs upgraded to band-aid it and waste taxpayers’ dollars on. It needs a major overhaul.”

If the levy is renewed by voters, Price said the work could get underway by 2023.

Design work on the renovation will take place over the course of this year, and Price hopes it will be among the first things the district tackles next year.

Sand Hill Elementary, Price said, was next on the list of schools slated for upgrades. The school’s five-year operating levy provides upwards of $28 million in funding annually for improvements to the schools, which in recent years have largely consisted of security upgrades.

Most recently, the first phase of renovations at Washington Lands Elementary wrapped up, providing ballistic-type glass to windows at the school, new entry doors, and upgraded access controls for visitors to the school. Bids for Phase Two, which will add a large, multi-purpose room onto the building, will go out at the end of February.

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