Alpine School expansion proposed

SPARTA. Architect shows designs for a two-story addition with classrooms.

Sparta /
| 18 Feb 2024 | 06:44

Preliminary plans for expanding Alpine Elementary School were shown at the Sparta Township Board of Education meeting Jan. 18.

The population at Alpine has been growing and all of the other schools are close to capacity, Superintendent Matthew Beck said.

Allen Barnett of Di Cara | Rubino Architects presented a number of plans for adding to Alpine.

They include adding a gym that could be used for community programs after school hours. Alpine’s gym now is a multipurpose room, which also serves as the cafeteria.

Each of the designs would allow the academic wing to be closed off while the new gym remains open, Barnett said.

Beck said the expansion would allow special classes, such as music and art, to have their own classrooms. The modular buildings no longer would be used as classrooms but could be used for storage.

A possible referendum would include improvements at all schools, including installing air conditioning in all the buildings as well as new windows and doors, he said.

Public input sessions will be held in the future, he added.

Two-story addition

Barnett said the preliminary plans are for a two-story addition to Alpine that would have seven pre-K and kindergarten classes, 10 academic classrooms for grades 1-3, three small-group instruction spaces, support spaces, and a gym/multipurpose room with a middle school-grade basketball court with bleachers.

The addition likely would go on the back of Alpine, which would limit the impact of construction on the existing building, he said. Parents could drop off pre-K and kindergarten students there at the back so they could go directly to their classrooms.

Among the next steps would be updating the district’s demographic report with enrollment projections, Barnett said. State aid for new construction is based on those numbers, he noted.

In general, the state provides 40 percent of the debt-service costs of construction approved in a referendum.

Beck said the plans that Barnett presented are a starting point. “This is all preliminary. This is just showing what we could do and what we possibly would do.”

Barnett estimated that it could take nearly a year from a decision on a design to the date of the referendum. ”Tonight really is the start of a multiyear process before kids are in the building.”