GLENWOOD | Residents and school officials gathered Tuesday in the Hickory Bend Elementary gymnasium to discuss the design and features of the proposed middle school for Brookwood District 167.
Superintendent Pamela Hollich led the focus group of about two dozen, who offered ideas on what they'd like to see in the new Brookwood Middle School.
"From now until the end of the summer, we want to gather some input," Hollich said. "The focus tonight is to give community members a voice in the design of the new school."
Residents had similar desires for the new school, including a large gym and cafeteria, quality science and technology labs and updated restrooms. The consensus, though, seemed to be that security was the first concern.
Brookwood 167 School Board member Roslon Seals said safety was her top priority.
"I think this was a wonderful opportunity for the community to come out and express their needs and wants for the new school," Seals said. "We need their input, to see how they feel. This is just the beginning."
Board member Janice Barry and newly hired Superintendent Valorie Moore, who will take over for Hollich at the end of the month, also were in attendance, as was Mario Planera, president of Planera Architects.
Hollich laid out a tentative timetable for the project that included design work between August and April 2014, the construction bid process being wrapped up before September 2014 and ground being broken later that month. The plan is for the school to open in fall 2016.
Voters approved a referendum in the November election to allow the sale of bonds to raise $15.8 million to pay for the school.
The current middle school was built in 1898, with the last addition constructed in 1957. Hollich said it lacks the office and storage space the school needs, has no air conditioning and is not ADA compliant.
"When people ask me if this building is up to code, my answer is yes," Hollich said. "But the most recent code that applies to our current Brookwood Middle School is the 1964 code."
Hollich will present to the board a report on the feedback she's gotten from residents at 6:30 p.m. June 24 at the administration center. That meeting may be moved if more space is needed.