DuBOIS — The next step in a district-wide effort to improve and update facilities in the DuBois Area School District to support its educational programs and operating needs is to possibly build a new Wasson Elementary School. That planning process was discussed recently with Superintendent Luke Lansberry.

“The process related to planning for a possible new Wasson will be very collaborative between the architects, building engineers and the district’s design committee,” said Lansberry. “We’re working to put together a planning committee now. We’ve already established a schedule to hold many committee meetings to discuss the project and to ensure that the district’s goals for the possible new school are met.”

“Our goal has always been to tighten-up across the district so that we could then begin to afford to fix-up,” Lansberry continued. “Although the tightening-up process has been extremely challenging, and in some areas will continue, it is now time for us to begin planning seriously for the process of fixing-up.”

The process will also be very transparent, said Lansberry, noting that the district plans to hold many presentations to the board and the public. This includes:

  • The board will be updated regularly on teams’ progress.
  • The district will be holding two additional public presentations in May for parents, teachers, and the community to see the design of the building and to ask questions. This will be done on two consecutive nights to make sure people are available, Lansberry said.
  • Another public presentation will occur in October as part of the state-required Act 34. This will give the public another opportunity to review the project, review the cost, and ask questions.
  • As had been the case during the master plan study, the district will continue to include a folder on its website with updated presentations, images, and animations of the school so the community will continually be able to stay informed.

“Again, we want this whole process to be totally transparent, there will be no smoke and mirrors here,” Lansberry said.

“Finally, and probably most importantly, this project is about improving education for our youngest students,” Lansberry continued. “Moving fifth grade will help provide additional space for new curriculum, new programs, and opportunities for all of our K-4 elementary students.”

The decision to move fifth grade students from the four elementary schools to the DuBois Area Middle School was made by the board at the Jan. 25 meeting.

“The new facility will provide a state-of-the-art atmosphere for these children to explore new lessons in a safe and energy-efficient, 21st century environment,” Lansberry said. “Those are key points that I think people need to be aware of. We’re excited about this opportunity to build an improved educational future together that will most certainly enhance our educational program. We must always keep in mind that our top priority must be to design educational spaces that will help prepare our young learners for their future — not our past.”

A board work session will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria of Wasson Elementary School. The meeting is open to the public.

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