It looks like fifth-graders graduating from Warren Area Elementary Center this year will move up to... Warren Area Elementary Center.
Warren County School District Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel proposed a temporary solution to classroom shortages at Beaty-Warren Middle School during a multi-million dollar construction project that would keep this year's fifth-graders at WAEC for sixth grade while putting them through the usual middle level schedules and procedures.
"To keep the project in budget, we have to try to do the project in two phases" rather than three, Hufnagel said.
Some areas of Beaty will have to be closed during renovations.
"There weren't enough classrooms available" at Beaty for all of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classes in the central attendance area, Hufnagel said. "We took a look at a number of different options. The best solution that we came up with is keeping the fifth-graders as sixth-graders at WAEC next year."
He stressed that it is intended to be a one-year solution.
"There is enough room at WAEC to give the sixth-graders the classroom space that they need," he said.
The students and teachers would be in one building, but the instructional model would be several blocks away.
"Even though the sixth grades would be located at WAEC, we would be supervising them," Beaty Principal Rhonda Decker said. "They would still have Beaty schedules. They would still be Beaty students."
"Their special classes will still be first thing in the morning," Decker said. "They'll still have four cores. It will be as they are middle-level students at WAEC."
WAEC Principal Ruth Nelson said her building does have space for the sixth grades. "It really does fit," she said.
The schedules of itinerant teachers have been taken into account and Nelson said that part of the plan also works.
"They have put something together that will make this work for a year," Hufnagel said in commending the principals.
The proposal will be brought before the school board for a vote at the special board meeting set for 7 p.m. Monday, May 21 at the Warren County Career Center.
The $16.2 million project, funded by a zero-interest Qualified Zone Academy Bond loan, addresses "critical needs" at Beaty, according to board President Arthur Stewart. Some of the most serious problems are in the electrical and heating systems. Some of the iron pipes that carry the building's hot water heat were installed when the building was built in 1929, according to Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, and the boilers have been in place since the 1980s.