Edneyville Elementary: Residents want to keep traditions

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The following is an article written by  Andrew Mundhenk, Hendersonville Times-News Staff Writer, about the Community Meeting that we had last night about the construction of our new school:

Although ready for something brand new, Edneyville Elementary parents, students and staff also want to maintain their sense of community and rural character when building a new school.

screenshot-www.blueridgenow.com-2017-03-21-15-16-15Edneyville residents had the chance to offer their input Monday evening during an information session with school officials and architects from Clark Nexsen. About 40 people attended the community meeting inside the school gymnasium, and architects were on hand to answer questions and give a presentation about the project.

In February, county commissioners approved a $24.9 million, 87,000-square-foot facility on the existing school site.

“It’s an exciting time because it’s finally going to happen,” Principal Donna Brackett said to open the meeting.

No renderings or floor plans of the new school where shown. That will happen at a meeting in July when the schematic design is completed. Monday’s meeting was mainly held to discuss the timeline of the project and gather input on the building’s design.

“This is a great opportunity for you,” Superintendent Bo Caldwell said. “This is a time to give input. What would you like to see in this brand-new facility that will serve the children of Edneyville Elementary?”

Lead architect Chad Roberson gave an overview of the project. Roberson said Clark Nexsen has designed millions of square feet of K-12 projects across the southeast. He said modern schools they design now feature amenities such as flexible classrooms that can be set up in a variety of different ways, outdoor learning, and collaborative spaces.

community meeting photo“We notice that the way teachers are teaching now is different than they did when I was growing up,” Roberson said. “You’re talking about developing critical thinkers, working together as a team; the focus changed from how the teachers teach to how those students are going to learn.”
Clark Nexsen architects had the audience participate in a couple of activities to gather input. In the first exercise, they were asked to write on sticky notes what they would like to keep about Edneyville Elementary, what they would toss out and what they want to see new in the future school. They then posted those notes onto a poster.

“You’ll be surprised how this translates into the architecture of the building,” Roberson said. “You may not (feel) like it relates, but it relates very strongly to the inspiration of what’s going to happen in this building.”
The “keep” poster included keeping the Edneyville name, Yellow Jacket mascot and black and yellow school colors intact. Other keepers were the nature trail and memorial trees honoring students who have passed away intact.

community meeting photoThe “toss” poster included ditching the old carpet, septic system, leaky toilets, mobile unit classrooms and the unsafe walking between the school’s separated buildings.

The “create” poster needed two pieces of paper to contain all the notes. Repeats included an auditorium of multi-purpose space separate from the gym, more storage, a new playground and an overall up-to-date facility.
In the second exercise, community members were asked to pick a photo from piles of random pictures. That picture was supposed to represent to them what they want to see in the new school.

One student held up a picture of necklaces because she wanted the school to be beautiful. A woman held up a picture of a totem pole to represent a welcoming of different cultures. Several held up pictures of a cow or landscape to show they want to keep their rural identity intact.

“They have a strong sense of community,” Roberson said after the meeting. “They’re very proud of the community that they have. They see this more as a rural community and they want to embrace that. They want nature to come into the building, making sure there’s outdoor learning environments, creating collaborative learning environments for their students.”community meeting photo

“I think they’re genuinely excited,” he added. “Very excited.”

The new school will be built on the same campus, but an exact location has not been determined. Roberson said they will work on site planning and schematic design through July, incorporating the best position of the building in relation to the sun to allow for natural light as well as the featuring the nearby lake behind the current school.

The school will be designed for 600 students, with a core capacity of 700 or 800, according to the architect. Plans are to leave the current school gymnasium building standing for future community use.

The project will go out to bid in February 2018, with construction taking place from March to May 2019. The new school is expected to be completed in time for the 2019-20 school year. Demolition of existing buildings and final site work will follow, with a final completion date of October 2020.

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