Bond Projects Update: April 2021

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and we’re getting closer and closer to finishing construction on our 18th elementary school, Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

In April, our construction team installed roofing on the school’s administrative area. They also installed windows and casework in the A-Wing and worked on framing, plumbing and electrical in the G-Wing, among a host of other projects. The crew will soon finish installing acoustical ceiling panels throughout the school.

Click here to watch a brief drone video showing the latest work on the school.

Another big development for Katherine G. Johnson Elementary was the unveiling of the school’s furniture. At an April School Board meeting, Director of Construction and Planning Cathie Carlson spoke about how unique the classrooms inside the school will be.

Unlike standard elementary classrooms where furniture remains in place and teachers instruct from the front of the class, the new furniture will allow both students and teachers to move and combine work areas. Other changes include desks that can be easily rearranged, softer seats, “sofa chairs” that give students a place for group work, and mobile teaching stations that allow teachers to quickly adjust to the changing learning space.

“All students have different needs and different learning styles, so instead of trying to make the student fit the furniture, hopefully the furniture will help support a little more creative and interactive academic environment,” Carlson said.

The concept of flexible learning spaces is to provide areas throughout the classroom for formal and informal learning. The flexible classroom is designed to accommodate a variety of modes of learning: individual testing, working with pairs, working in small groups or larger teams, lectures, watching demonstrations, working independently and presentation.

Bethel Early Learning Center

Workers are continuing to make great progress on the Bethel Early Learning Center. Not only is the center getting a new look, it’s also getting a new name. A naming committee made up of parents and district staff met in April to discuss possible names for the center.

This project — which is converting an old church into a learning center — will be the first of its kind in the district. It was designed to allow us to move preschool classrooms out of our crowded elementary schools and into the new building. The 12,000 square foot center will feature seven classrooms, administrative offices, support facilities, and will house approximately 250 students each day.

The center is being financed by impact fees, rather than bond money. Impact fees are collected when new homes are built in the district. The fees go up very minimally each year based on the consumer index and the money collected is generally used to purchase and place portable classrooms.

In addition to the main building, the center will feature a fun and educational outdoor space for playing, eating and learning.

At an April School Board meeting, Carlson showcased the fun and educational furniture that will be used in the center. Each room will feature a tree graphic on the wall, and each tree will have a different theme.

“One theme is musical instruments, one’s more of a science theme,” Carlson said. “We thought that would add a lot of fun to the classroom for the students.”

The center will open to students next fall.

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Bethel Schools

Bethel Schools

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.