Photo by Jolene Guzman
For Falls City Elementary School students, the covered area on the playground serves as gym for physical education classes. The Falls City School Board would like to change that and is weighing support for a bond to build gym.
As of Wednesday, October 21, 2015
FALLS CITY — Try holding a physical education class in a room with an 8-foot ceiling — or having to load kids onto a bus for PE classes off site.
That is the case at Falls City Elementary School. Now district officials have proposed a solution: building a gym at the school.
It would take a bond measure to pay for it, but Superintendent Jack Thompson said after introducing the idea to citizens last week, the response has been encouraging.
“It was really positive,” Thompson said. “People believe there is a need.”
Thompson said students in kindergarten through fourth-grade use the playground, the covered play area and “multiple purpose room,” with an 8-foot high ceiling for physical education. Students in grades fifth through eighth are bused down to the high school gym for P.E. class.
Also, the district may be able to take advantage of Senate Bill 447, a law passed in the last legislative session that would double the amount collected through a bond, if it were to pass.
“That would maximize our dollars,” Thompson said. “We wanted to make sure that was in place.”
Thompson said at the initial meeting that members of the public suggested a full-size gym suitable for hosting high school games, possibly with a kitchen facility.
The extra space also could house FACES after-school program classes and allow the district to host jamboree-like sporting events with multiple venues.
“It opens up opportunities that way,” Thompson said.
The new building also could meet another need.
With an enrollment increase of 20 students so far this year, Thompson said the kitchen at the elementary school, where all the meals served in the district are prepared, could soon be too small.
He said the Falls City School Board is looking for input at this point and hasn’t settled on a design or amount the district would seek in a bond. The board will hold another informational meeting in November to sort out some of those details and will find an architect to draw plans and provide a cost estimate.
While the gym will be at the elementary school property, the exact location has not been identified.
Thompson said the most logical place in his opinion is the property the district owns just east of the school.
“That way the kids wouldn’t have to cross the street like they do now to get to the playground,” Thompson said. “Right now it (the property) has a few trees growing on it and that is it.”
He added while still very much in the planning stages, Thompson believes building a gym is feasible.
“After looking at the costs, it’s definitely doable,” he said.
What: Falls City Elementary School gym bond informational meeting.
When: Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.
Where: Falls City Community Center, 320 N. Main St., Falls City.
For more information: 503-787-3521.