Beatrice Public Schools is looking for the public’s input regarding a master plan for its facilities.
Pat Phelan of DLR Group has been working to put together a blanket plan for the district that covers everything from the school buildings to storage sheds.
He presented an updated version of the plan to the School Board during Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, and said the next step is asking for input from the public.
“Now we’re ready to really engage with the community and let them be a part of this process,” he said.
The plan includes any updates or maintenance to the school’s bus barn and maintenance buildings, though Phelan said the educational side of the plan is a key piece.
“That really is the most important piece in my opinion, and I’m sure the board members would agree,” he said. “We need to understand the educational aspects of all the facilities. What I mean by that is how are the facilities being used? Are the spaces that those classes are being taught in either enhancing the educational experience or hindering that experience? That’s where your staff and administrative team comes into play for us, to understand those program issues.
“By going through this process, hopefully what we’re going to be able to do is give you a comprehensive view of the condition, both physically and programmatically of your buildings.”
Phelan previously evaluated the elementary school buildings ahead of two failed bond issues that would have allowed the district to build a consolidated elementary school near the high school in east Beatrice.
The four elementary buildings were again addressed Thursday evening. Phelan said many of the issues with the buildings stem from being spread out through the community, rather than square footage.
“We also look at how we’re using the space and is the space being utilized effectively,” he said. “Are there ways that maybe we can better utilize the space by making it more multipurpose, then is there duplication of space?
"That was one of the things, when we were looking at the elementary schools, (that) was very evident. With four elementary schools, you have a lot of duplication of spaces… Every one of those buildings, the space is inadequate. When you add them all together, that’s a nice size space. Unfortunately, they’re scattered throughout your community. Even though you have that space, it’s not really adequate.”
Superintendent Pat Nauroth said it’s important for the district officials to reach out to the public for additional input before finalizing the master plan.
“We’re at a point where our next step is, we don’t have anything set in stone, for community input to help us proceed,” he said. “When this is all said and done, the facility master plan should be our road map for years down the road to how we’re going to proceed as a district.”