HES Aerial View.jpg

An artist’s aerial rendering of the new Hanson Elementary School was approved by the Hopkins County Board of Education on Monday night.

It may have been Presidents’ Day, but that didn’t keep the Hopkins County Board of Education from holding a special called meeting Monday night.

The board met with Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects, the Louisville firm that is designing the new Hanson Elementary School.

During the meeting, the board unanimously approved the firm’s preliminary site plan and the landing spot of the new building.

The building will be behind the existing school, where the ball fields are currently located. The board also approved plans for the general look of the two-story school, said Assistant Superintendent Marty Cline.

“We’re trying to determine the facility, itself, what it’s going to look like — kind of a general floor plan,” said Superintendent Dr. Deana Ashby. “We’re also trying to decide exactly where we would come in on the land that we have available right now.”

The board is trying to determine the best routes for the entrance and exits onto the campus, said Ashby. Improved traffic flow is a priority for this new campus.

Last night’s meeting went into closed session to discuss the potential of purchasing property to accommodate better traffic flow, said Ashby.

“We’re looking at the traffic flow patterns,” she said. “It’s a closed session because we are trying to determine, based on the location and placement of the building, if we would be able to get buses and cars in and out at particular exits, and would we need to acquire additional land to do that.”

The new building will have a modern look and is planned to have 24 classrooms, a 4,281-square-foot media center, a music room, an art room, cafeteria, gymnasium with a platform and more. Ashby said these plans are subject to change.

Ashby said the board has taken every decision very seriously.

“We have gone to three different counties and toured other facilities, other elementary schools that Sherman Cater Barnhart has constructed to get ideas about things we like or maybe didn’t like so much,” she said. “We talked to their principal or someone from their central office, and asked questions like, ‘If you were to build this building again, what would you do differently?’ ”

The district looked at these facilities to create an informed opinion about what they want in the new facility.

“Trying to make informed decisions, and making sure the board has looked not only at the inside of the facility, but the location itself, looked at their car-rider, bus-rider lanes, playgrounds and parking lots,” Ashby said. “We were able to view some facilities that are very new, and that helped us understand a more up-to-date approach of what is available to us.”

The next phase for the building project is design development, Cline said.

“They will start breaking down individual spaces both inside and outside to get more specific about what they’re going to look like,” he said.

“The next phase is getting into more specifics of the design of the actual building — such as, where’s the door going to be? What type of flooring is there going to be? Do we want this exit door to open this way or that way?” he said. “It’s some of those little design details that aren’t so much down to what paint color it is, but more architecturally based.”

The preliminary site plan is subject to change, said Cline.

“A lot of this is contingent upon the Department of Transportation, any other adjacent properties,” he said. “Even though visually, it may look a certain way, it may end up being shifted another way because of actual property lines.”

Ground is scheduled to be broken on the project later this year.

The Hopkins County School Board will hold its regular called meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the district office.

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