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School visitors saw things to like and avoid during tours of other facilities

Mar 11, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

With plans moving forward for construction of a new elementary school in Riverton based on an existing school in Pinedale, Fremont County School District 25 officials, parents and administration are weighing specific design features.

A Riverton group recently toured schools in Rawlins, Lander and Pinedale, and discussion regarding details that could applied to new K-3 school to be built at1200 W. Monroe Ave. are being evaluated.

During the tours, Riverton school principals, custodians, lunchroom staff, parents, and other district officials noticed drawbacks to design choices and favored other features they felt would work really well at the new school.

"I don't want to lose that information," said District 25 superintendent Terry Snyder to the attending tour participants in the recent follow-up meeting. "A lot of points were made."

While the basic framework of the Pinedale school is to be duplicated in Riverton, considerable flexibility exists in how the building will be laid out and equipped.

Snyder encouraged the group members to explain thoroughly why they liked certain ideas or how in the capacity of their position, they didn't see other ideas to fit with the needs of the students in the district.

He said school officials from Gannett Peak in Lander expressed that if they could re-do a step in their recent construction process, they would better organize input from all staff and departments and initiate the collaboration from the beginning.

At Rawlins Elementary, the Riverton group liked the rubber padding around the playground, heated sidewalks outside the entrances, sinks and water fountains in all classrooms, and an isolated gymnasium that would accommodate public use. Ashgrove Elementary principal Alleta Baltes said she liked the area designated for special-needs education, along with the storage space.

Larry Hartwell saw the vinyl composition tile the school used as a drawback.A consensus among the group showed they would prefer not use similar tile because of the additional maintenance it requires.

"That's where the janitor spends half his shift," Hartwell said.

The overall feel of the building seemed to be more industrialized, the group agreed. Classrooms also had very large windows that could be distracting for students during class.

The group like Gannett Peak in Lander for its "family friendly" look and colors and materials used that seemed age-appropriate and more residential.

The carpet squares for flooring offered a nice design for the Lander school, the group suggested, and could be replaced by sections as needed to as opposed to the whole floor. The carpet also had patterns that helped direct student traffic throughout the hallways.

Participants also talked about the school's gym, its size, design, roll out stage and screen, materials used and bleachers.

It seemed the classrooms had less storage space, however, because the hallways had plentiful wall space for showcasing student work. Group members agreed they would rather avoid that but still want enough storage space. Members were hesitant recommend the Gannett Peak office design that included a conference room, administration area and principal and nurse's office. They felt those spaces could be reorganized.

The Pinedale Elementary model, which has been selected as the Riverton prototype, offered several beneficial features to the group. The district is contracting with Sandstrom Architects which designed the Pinedale building.

The visitors also determined they could grab components from each school and bring together to best fit the uniqueness of the Riverton school.

The discussions and suggestions are expected to provide the architect with a full description of what District 25 hopes to have for students, parents and staff at the new school.

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