Lindbergh officials discussing plans to build warehouse on LHS campus

Centralized warehouse would help district reclaim classroom space

By BURKE WASSON

Lindbergh School District officials are discussing plans to construct a new district warehouse on the high school campus to allow for more centralized delivery and the conversion of storage space at a handful of schools into more classrooms.

The Lindbergh Board of Education met Saturday morning to discuss various options of reclaiming existing space for more classrooms and plans for the warehouse, which district officials are leaning toward constructing on the high school campus’ northeast end in the Gym 3 parking lot.

If the warehouse were to be built on the campus’ northeast corner near Maple Lane, the district would construct additional parking on the former Winheim property adjacent to the Administration Building on the campus’ west end to combat the loss of parking near Gym 3.

Lindbergh Executive Director of Planning and Development Karl Guyer presented a variety of scenarios to board members Saturday for the opportunity to reclaim classroom space throughout the district by shifting storage to the proposed centralized warehouse.

That storage shuffling would create the potential for two or three additional classrooms at Lindbergh High School, three additional classrooms and three support classrooms at Sappington Elementary School and six additional classrooms at Truman Elementary School.

Guyer also said district officials are studying options of moving Truman Elementary School’s main office to the building’s corridor entrance.

While Sappington and Truman elementary schools along with Lindbergh High School could see more classroom space reclaimed, the need for additional space at Sperreng Middle School still exists.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in October to establish a task force to recommend options to address space concerns at Sperreng, which has an enrollment of 1,323 pupils.

Possible options to address the space issues at Sperreng discussed during a special meeting on Oct. 6 included construction of an addition to the middle school or reconfiguring the district’s existing facilities to house two middle schools. Sperreng and Truman would be middle schools serving pupils in grades five through eight with early childhood education, or ECE, at both sites.

The district’s existing elementary schools would serve pupils in kindergarten through fourth grade. Concord, the current site of the ECE program, would be renovated into a fifth elementary school.

With these options to address the Sperreng space crunch being studied by the task force, Board of Education Vice President Ken Fey was curious to know how Guyer’s listed options for Truman, which include reclaiming additional classroom space, could be affected.

“As it is utilized today and as we look at it today, does any of this hinge on the demographic task force?” Fey asked. “If they come back with certain ideas or what they want to do with that building, will that change any of these scenarios for you?”

“I think it has to do with labeling,” Guyer said. “It’s what these areas would be labeled and how what goes into this building could be configured. This would give the board more flexibility and the committee or those assigned to solve the nuts and bolts of it more flexibility.”

“So no matter what they say, you still think you can utilize all this area?” Fey asked.

“Yes,” Guyer said. “… It’s much more effective to gain additional classroom space within a classroom building than to build more classrooms more remote from the main educational (area).”

As for the warehouse, administrators are projecting that the project would come at a cost of roughly $2.5 million.

The Board of Education decided in October to move forward on its planning and had discussed the possibility of a central warehouse for much of 2007.

Guyer has said that despite an exhaustive search for a location within the district, the only possible sites for a central warehouse were on the high school campus.

Lindbergh Assistant Superintendent for Finance/Chief Financial Officer Pat Lanane concurred last week with that assessment, noting that he and Guyer personally visited several possible locations.

“Probably in terms of total numbers of properties we looked at, I’m sure it was 20-something,” Lanane said. “Sometimes, we wouldn’t even go see it because it was too far away. It’s on the edge of the district and it won’t work for us. But we kept that process pretty active for a long period of time. And what we found were really a couple of things.

“One, existing buildings that might be of such an age that you could buy it right and just have an instant service facility really don’t exist … Mainly, what we found here was either a blank piece of property or what used to be a warehouse that would take a tremendous amount of capital improvement to make it work. And most of the time, the sites were not well situated.

“As I’ve watched for 15 years, our delivery guys and different maintenance people were always going from here to here to here to here to get one job finished. It’s never really very simple. And so trying to get it very central to the school district so you have the shortest distance to cover all and/or the other possibility became connecting it to one of our existing sites.

“… The high school, if you look at it in terms of a map, is very well situated centrally. And the other really huge positive that we looked at is if we could somehow get connected to the high school … If you can get connected to the high school, then a large percentage of jobs, whether it be through commodity or copy-center jobs or delivering paper, suddenly becomes a one-stop procedure long term,” Lanane added.

Board member Katie Wesselschmidt said she favors the current Gym 3 parking-lot site for the new warehouse not only for its fairly “unobtrusive” area, but also for the fact that displaced parking would be moved closer to the high school’s football and track field.

“I think it’s a great (warehouse) location,” Wesselschmidt said. “Is it going to be a little crowded back there? Sure. But that might be a benefit actually. That might slow some kids down as they come around that corner. And I agree with Karl. It’s not a beautiful place back there right now, so I don’t think the homeowners on Maple Lane are going to complain of seeing a brick wall instead of seeing a parking lot back there … I still do support that location. I think that’s the best and most unobtrusive, too, for our campus.

“I think it’s nice to have the space (on the west) and allow parking and allow people to get back to the track area because it’s absolutely true that that parking area is booked all the time if you come back for any kind of sports during the seasons. It’s always full. So having more parking over on this (west) side would be very advantageous. So I’m still supporting the Gym 3 (warehouse) location.”