Bites about Lincoln Elementary School
Hanzlik’s students offered the following bits of information:
There has not been hot water available in the school for two years.
The tornado shelter is where the boiler for the radiators is located.
Asbestos is on all pipes in the school. A sign stating, “Asbestos is present, have a nice day,” has been hanging in the hallway for 28 years.
There used to be a fireplace which was used for heat when it was first built. It is now behind bookcases
Things the students say they look forward to most if the bond issue is approved include:
Having a gym separate from the lunch room
Having a better kitchen
No more asbestos
No more extension cords to trip over
Tornado shelter will have restrooms
Bleachers in the gym for games and assemblies. No more sitting on the floor.
Show and tell ranks along with gym, recess and lunch as one of the more fun parts of school. Some students from Shelly Hanzlik’s fourth grade class at Hoisington’s Lincoln Elementary School were picked to provide just that to members of the local media Tuesday afternoon. They came to hear a practice run of the talk students will present during an open house Sunday afternoon at the school.
The USD 431 Board of Education has worked closely with teachers and the bond committee to gather information and recently received approval from the state department of education to hold a mail-ballot bond election to build a new school and complete needed remodeling at the district’s other three schools.
Fourth graders Haillee Bonham, Jayla Wyant and Katria Kindscher talked about their class project, a book they’ve titled “The old to the now to the new.” Hanlik arranged for local photographer Dan Witt to work with the students photographing different parts of the school, and students researched and wrote reports that make up the different chapters of the book. The students learned how to use microfilm readers at the local library to find articles from past newspapers, and met with Lon Palmer of the Hoisington Historical Society to learn more about the history of the city.
The oldest school in the district, Lincoln was built in 1926 for $42,000. In 1956, the existing gymnasium was added. It escaped damage when a tornado leveled parts of Hoisington, including the nearby high school in 2001.
Bonham wrote about the transition from chalkboards to whiteboards and finally to smart boards. Wyant researched the history of the school, and Kindscher imagined the future of the school.
During the project, for fun Hanzlick introduced the students to episodes of the 1970s cartoon, The Jetsons. That led to Kindscher’s part in the project. She imagined the future of the school.
“Someday, there could be a long elevator that takes students into outer space where they can study astronomy,” she said.
A tornado drill was called, sending students, staff and the media into the basement tornado shelter area which was none other than the school’s boiler room. Older guests were advised not to descend due to the dust and mold. The smell was immediately detectable, and more than one guest felt a heaviness after exiting the shelter area that took minutes to dispel.
On the average, it takes about two-and-a-half minutes to move the school population to the area. After a tornado damaged Hoisington’s high school in 2001, the district learned the dangers of sheltering in the hallway. The basement, while dank, does have a concrete ceiling, and a utility cave provides a second exit if it should be needed, Principal Alan Charles pointed out.
The drill was followed by a tour of the building led by fourth grade students. While the high ceilings and simple oak woodwork is still attractive, and the walls were painted in inviting shades of red and white, outdated radiators still deliver heat to the classrooms, decades old cracks run through the original composite flooring, and modern technology receives power from snaking extension cords rather than directly from wall outlets. While the rooms are bright and sunny, they are lined with tall single-hung windows and air conditioning is supplied through window units.
Superintendent Bill Lowry pointed out stairs leading from the main hall to the gymnasium are a struggle for students that find themselves needing to use crutches, and if a student should need a wheelchair, to get to the gymnasium, where the students are served lunch and breakfast and where assemblies take place, they need to exit the building and enter through the street entrance. There is no access to the basement shelter area either.
Patrons of USD 431 will have an opportunity to see for themselves Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The open house will start in the school gymnasium, and bond committee and board members as well as several of Hanzlik’s students will be on hand to answer questions and provide tours of the school.