SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Some big changes are coming for students of Westport Elementary and Study Middle Schools in Springfield.
Students of both will soon attend class in one building, and Westport Elementary is undergoing a renovation to handle its new responsibility. Voters approved the school bond in 2009 and the construction at Westport has been going on for roughly two years.
The reason for combining the schools: declining enrollment at Westport, just a kindergarten through fifth-grade school, and Study Middle School, which serves sixth through eighth-graders.
The new Westport K-8 building is going to be about 120,000 square feet. That's twice the size of the former Westport Elementary. The building's capacity will increase to over 800 students, up from about 420 now.
Other improvements include a track and a practice football field, as well as a FEMA storm shelter.
School officials say it's been a long process, but they thank the parents and students for their patience.
"There's been a lot of things that have gone on, and the students have done a great job -- and the teachers have done a great job of just preparing for the move and knowing what's to come," Westport principal Gary Tew said. "[It's] kind of been cramped for a little bit for a while, but knowing that the ultimate goal is going to come -- and we're going to have good times here at Westport once the construction is complete."
Originally school officials had an open house planned for tonight, but they say there's still too much construction going on to be able to have people walking through the new hallways. But they plan on holding one after the building is finished sometime in July, so the parents and students can see the new building.
They are going to use the 'Alert Now' system to let parents know and of course we'll keep you posted on KY3-TV and KY3.com.
Another major change coming is the traffic flow when it comes to picking up and dropping off students. The current entrance is at the east end of the building on Golden Avenue, but the new entrance will be on the west end. Officials say it will be less congested for parents dropping off and picking up students.