Facilities plan tackles Alcott challenge

The Community Facilities Advisory Committe for Hastings Public Schools is proposing a major renovation and addition to Alcott Elementary School. Six new classrooms, a cafeteria and kitchen would be added while the existing building would be completely renovated to bring it all up to code and move the main entrance from Cedar Avenue to Fourth Street.

The Community Facilities Advisory Committe for Hastings Public Schools is proposing a major addition, seen here with the white roof, be made to the west side of the Alcott Elementary School. In Option A, the addition would take on the look of the original school building with fewer windows. Option B would mirror the red brick addition to the building and features more windows and an almost all glass entry into the renovated and extended building.

An increase in square footage, a new cafeteria, new office space, and new and renovated classrooms all are called for at Alcott Elementary School under a proposal by a local advisory committee.

In October, Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Craig Kautz revealed the recommendations for the future of the school district’s six elementary buildings as proposed by a Community Facilities Advisory Committee.

Under the committee’s proposal, the Hawthorne, Lincoln and Watson elementary buildings would be expanded, while Alcott and Longfellow both would be expanded and renovated.
Meanwhile, Morton Elementary would be closed with the option of turning it into a preschool hub for the district.

Under the proposal, $6.9 million would be spent on improvements at Alcott, 313 N. Cedar Ave.

“Alcott’s a little tricky architecturally because you’ve got old building and addition and they don’t really match,” Kautz said.

The building already has been added onto once, creating a design issue.

That’s why there are two proposed sketches of what the new building could look like.

In Option A, the addition models the original building built in 1935. This option has a more enclosed look to the main entrance area, which would be moved from Cedar Avenue to Fourth Street.

The main entrance also is moved in Option B; however, the entrance area in this proposed design has more of an open look with numerous windows as a reflection of the addition built in 1954.

The main entrance is being moved in an effort to help deal with drop-off and pick-up parking. However, Kautz warned there isn’t much that can be done when the building sits so close to the street on all sides.

Under both plans, the interior of the entire building would receive a facelift.

The existing building would undergo extensive remodeling to help enlarge classrooms and eliminate the closets now found in most of them.

Of six new classrooms being added, Kautz said, three would be new kindergarten classrooms that would be about 1,200 square feet each and situated adjacent to one another.

The existing gymnasium would become the dedicated gymnasium with a separate lunchroom and kitchen planned for the new addition.

“And, of course, the modular unit that was temporarily put there over 50 years ago will maybe go away,” Kautz said.

The school’s offices would be relocated to sit just inside the new main entrance off Fourth Street.

“If we accomplish what we hope to accomplish, this building will not only have exterior updates,” Kautz said, “but it will look like a unified building.”

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