By Angelo Parlove
Saline Area Schools is considering various ways to expand the learning spaces at the Heritage School – which houses the fourth and fifth grade students – in the short term, while looking ahead at long-term solutions for the 2018-19 school year.
To create more space for next school year, the district is considering moving two general education classrooms at Heritage to next door at Woodland Meadows Elementary. Both schools are located on East Woodland Drive and currently share a drop off loop for parents.
Pooh Corner, which currently uses three classrooms and some office space at Woodland Meadows, will be relocated to the Liberty School at the end of the summer, freeing up space at the elementary school.
“There is the opportunity with some square footage there to move some classrooms,” Superintendent Scot Graden said.
The district is also considering making some short-term physical alterations to the interior of Heritage building to create more space for next school year. Saline Area Schools is seeking opinions from design experts on how to create additional space at a relatively low cost for a variety of programs. If pursued, the modifications within the building would occur this summer.
Simultaneous to weighing the short-term options, the district is exploring long-term solutions for expanded learning space that could include brick-and-mortar alterations to Heritage, with a potential addition to the building that would be ready for the 2018-19 school year.
“What we do now will maybe be a relatively short-term solution to bridge us to another longer-term solution,” Graden said.
The district hosted a community forum at the Heritage School on April 19 to discuss the matter and get feedback from parents and community members. Graden said the forum was well attended by parents and school staff.
“We really presented four ideas on how we could adjust our space use and really move forward with top-notch learning spaces,” Graden added.
Other short-term options discussed at the forum included portable classrooms and moving programming, particularly around special education, to either Liberty or the middle school where the accommodations in those buildings could better serve students.
Moving two classrooms to Woodland Meadows received the most positive feedback at the forum, Graden said.