Chronicle staff writer

The Red Oak ISD Board of Trustees Monday approved only the interior instructional design plan of the new Shields Elementary School presented by Corgan.

Corgan’s principal architect, Steve Hulsey, reviewed the plan for the school, detailing changes and improvements discussed in the previous board meeting.

“One of our main concerns before was improving the traffic flow around the building and with that, we’ve added 131 parking spaces, we have the maximum on site pick up and drop off we can get and we’ve also made the bus zone traffic flow separate from regular traffic flow.”

The school’s floorplan, exterior elevations and interior design was explained by Corgan Vice President Eric Horstman as he reviewed the layouts of the gym, the pre-K through kindergarten classrooms, the typical first-grade classrooms, the typical second through fourth-grade classrooms, the science lab and teacher stations.

The pre-K through kindergarten classroom will be 800 square feet and have its own video projector, student workstations and restroom. The typical first-grade classroom will be 800 square feet and the typical second-grade through fourth-grade classroom will be 700 square feet. The science lab, which will serve the entire student population, will be 900 square feet.

“We are just looking at flexibility and adaptability of where we’re going with this because we’re going,” Horstman said, with assistant superintendent of finance and operation John Humphrey adding, “We really feel that this campus is moving in a direction of not lacking anything when it comes to technology.”

With the detailed presentation presented by Horstman, board president John Hawkins expressed concern with the exterior of the building, which prompted concerns from other board members.

“The instructional aspect of the building is impressive but I am a little concerned about the entrance of the building,” Hawkins stated. “To me, the entrance is pretty plain … it’s just a straight line. I don’t see a ‘wow’ and for this amount of spending we’re planning to spend, I think we need a little bit more.”

Other concerns voiced about the building were about the canopies on site, flattened roofs pertaining to drainage issues and the entrance.

After asking what could be done to make the entrance or the exterior of the building more of a "wow" appearance, Superintendent Scott Niven asked for the board to at least approve the interior instructional design phase of the building, if not the entire schematic plan.

The board passed it unanimously.

In other areas of interest, Niven reviewed the new organizational structure with assistant superintendent for school improvement and campus operation Russ Schupmann reviewing the nursing staff and emergency response procedures.

“From June until now, we’ve made changes to the organizational structure plan, whereas several divisions have been eliminated,” Niven said. “As of Sept. 12, we’ve added several positions such as the director of human resources, executive director of planning and accountability, director of curriculum and assistant superintendent-school improvement and campus operations. With the adding of new positions and eliminations of current positions, that’s about $150,000 savings for the central office budget. With the board approval, the positions will be posted soon.”

Schupmann addressed concerns with the district’s nursing staff being able to provide services to students with less staff.

“One of our key factors is to work out a system of sharing help with nurses and finding ways to utilize our necessities,” he said, with Niven adding, “We’re going to monitor and work through the issues of being short staffed. Other districts make it work and so can we. We’ve talked to parents who have concerns about our nursing staff but the main thing we’re going to do is work on this issue until it’s in place.”

In other news, the board approved:

The application for participation in Tex Star Naming of Investment Officer, which was John Humphrey Resolution of hazardous bus routes for the school year 2007-08 The resolution for Freeport exemption- House Bill 621 The tax rate of $1.30 consisting of $1.04 Maintenance and Operations and $0.26 Interest and Sinking as described in the presentation and tax rate ordinance The Construction Method of Delivery for 2007 Bond Maintenance and Renovation Projects.

The tax rate, when combined with appraised values from the Appraisal District, determines the level of local funding received by a school district.

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