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Kimball School District sets sights on $2 million building project

Addition would boost security, enhance learning spaces

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The Kimball School District is considering a $2 million addition project. (File Photo)
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Officials with the Kimball School District are planning a $2 million addition project that would enhance school security and improve access to quality educational learning spaces.

“We’re kind of right at the beginning of the process,” said Chris Noid, superintendent for the Kimball School District.

The district first began exploring the improvements in 2019 after identifying a need based on larger class sizes as well as accommodating small group breakout sessions. The school wrestling program also identified a need to expand their practice space as the program grew in numbers.

That kicked off the strategic planning process, spearheaded by a facility expansion team that identified several options that could offer a solution. The next steps were taken earlier this year, when structural changes were made to relocate the library to the previous wrestling space within the school. The previous library space was then divided to offer the math and reading specialists their own rooms to more adequately meet the needs of the students.

Then in the summer and fall of 2021, the school building and grounds committee held several meetings with Architect Inc., an architectural company the school had worked with before on projects. Those meetings determined that instead of an off-site build the district would concentrate on an addition that would enhance school security and the educational opportunities offered through the year.

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“The way I look at it is that it completes the building,” Noid said. “It’s a lot bigger space that could also potentially be used by the community.”

The current plan , which Noid said may change over the course of the development process, calls for an addition of 7,185 square feet, would give space to two paraprofessionals and one teacher working as an interventionist to help with th elearning losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noid also said the proposal meets the needs of the displaced wrestling program while creating opportunities for space to be utilized for additional education needs as well as potential space for developing the STEM program. An additional multipurpose space could be utilized by the wrestling program and in other school months be accessible to the agriculture and tech programs as classroom space.

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The Kimball School District is planning a $2 million addition that will improve educational spaces and enhance school security. (Submitted Photo)

Other possible uses for the multi-purpose space include:

  • PE classes

  • Group projects

  • Classroom events

  • Oral interpretation contests

  • 1st and 2nd grade readers theater

  • School board meetings

  • Community meetings

The proposal will place emphasis on school security and give priority to educational spaces and student support while maintaining a high level of fiscal responsibility to district patrons. The addition will be paid through capital outlay funds and small low-interest loans, avoiding the need to raise taxes.
Noid, who has headed the district for three years, said that fiscal responsibility has been a high priority for the district even before his arrival. Prudent planning over the course of the last decade or so have made setting aside funds for a project like this easier, and Noid credits previous school leaders with setting the course that has the district in the good position it currently finds itself.

“That was something we really talked about a lot. I’ve been here three years and really before I was here they did a great job of trying to finance different things and them off,” Noid said. “(The project funding) comes out of capital outlay and that’s on very firm ground. So with something like this we’re able to look at it without having to worry too much because (the rest of the school facilities) have been well-maintained.”

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The planning process has gone well, Noid said, but there is still work to be done before any final decisions are made. The committee and board of education is working with a construction manager and will continue discussions on needs and challenges as the school year continues.

Uncertainty in the realm of construction material and labor costs and other factors could change plans, but Noid said the district would deal with factors like that as they arise. Ideally, district patrons could see work commence as early as this time next year.

“If things fall into place, we can hopefully get started and have everything going by November of 2022. That’s pretty aggressive, and a lot depends on the supply chain and the architect doing what they think is the best way they can get it done,” Noid said. “We’re pretty much moving forward as best we can and as quickly as we can while doing our due diligence to make sure we’re doing it right.”

Formulating the right plan is the key to making sure Kimball students have the best educational experience they can have. That’s the goal of the district, Noid said, and it plans to do it right.

“We need to move forward and get better. That’s what it’s all about,” Noid said.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONKIMBALLOUR TOWNS
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at ekaufman@mitchellrepublic.com.
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