Ida Burns Elementary School originally had just one building, but added another in 1976 and one more in 1992 to form the current campus they have now. This past year they had 408 students in grades K-4 in their school.
Each year, Conway Public Schools renovates one of our elementary schools, making sure they all stay up-to-date and safe for our students. This summer, Julia Lee Moore Elementary is getting a full renovation, including new paint throughout the building, new flooring, new bathrooms, new classroom cabinets and other equipment, and new shelving and counters/tables for the media center. They will also have an updated playground, new drainage and outdoor signage, and outdoor paint. Next year it will be Ida Burns’ turn for a school “makeover.”
The problem is—Ida Burns needs more than our typical renovation. The infrastructure of the original building is not adequate to meet the school’s needs going forward. It has small hallways, poor plumbing, inadequate cafeteria, office, and meeting space, and an old electrical system that cannot support future technology.
So with the support of our school board, we have a plan for remodeling Ida Burns that will begin this summer and will give students and faculty there a new building for the 2016-17 School Year. The project is already underway as the remodel plans are extensive and will take this entire year to complete.
Our district is very excited about the Ida Burns Remodel Project, which will replace the main building with a new 2-story building that houses 12 state-of-the-art classrooms. The new building will have all new entry and office space and a student health room for the school nurse. There will also be a total renovation of the two existing buildings that remain, updating those with new floors, ceilings, paint, and bathrooms. There will be covered walkways so kids can move from building to building without weather concerns. It will be equipped with a new safe room/PE room, new cafeteria with stage area, new parking, landscaping, and playground.
We believe that the remodel of Ida Burns will be an improvement to the community. Ida Burns is truly the definition of a “neighborhood school,” and we look forward to maintaining this for years to come. The new building will improve the appearance of the outside of the building, thus improving the overall landscape of Donaghey Avenue. It will help the flow of traffic on Donaghey as well. The remodel plans also include work to improve the drainage around the building and in the playground area.
We want our community to know that even though we are starting the project now, and it will be ongoing throughout this next school year, we have taken careful consideration to put safety measures in place for our students and parents. Construction at Ida Burns will begin in August of this year, but the 2015-16 School Year will go on as normally as possible. A fence will be placed around the construction area to keep kids safe. The school will communicate with parents and the community about any changes to traffic patterns, etc. We will all have to work together during the “growing pains” but it will definitely be worth it! Work on the new construction should last throughout the 2015-16 school year and summer, and then the new Ida Burns should be ready to open for students in August of 2016.
The total cost for the remodel project is less than half the cost of building a new elementary school. But our Ida Burns students, parents, and staff will certainly be getting a “new school” from this plan.