Waggoner Elementary preparing for universal pre-k

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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The Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees reviewed plans for construction at Winters High School and Waggoner Elementary at their meeting on Nov 4. The project, funded by bond sales, will build new facilities as well as modifying old ones.

Architect Brian Whitmore said the first priority is to finish projects at WHS in 2021–22. This includes new construction on a pool  and Physical Education and Music building. Second, the project will build new classrooms for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes.

“We’re under pressure as a district with the growth of the TK/K grades,” Whitmore said.

Mary Fitzpatrick, Senior Project Manager, said current estimates predict that enrollment for TK will surpass 100 in coming years. The enrollment increase is due to California’s new universal pre-kindergarten legislation allowing all four year olds to enroll in programs by 2024.

Fitzpatrick said, “the ideal is to have the space built…when all four year olds can enroll in TK.”

The new TK/K classroom space is also subject to new requirements from the state. Classrooms must be near to pick up and drop off areas and fulfill square footage requirements .

“We want to make sure that we turn that into a much more broad, much more effective pickup and drop off zone,” said Whitmore.

Although  planners hoped to turn portable classrooms into permanent ones, its lower on the list of priorities.

“It made more sense to look at building new construction at Waggoner ,” said Whitmore.

Additional funding will go towards modernizing the administration building and updating finishes in buildings A and B. Finally, one million dollars will go towards updating Waggoner for ADA compliance.

Fitzpatrick said that they hope to have conceptual plans approved for the WHS Music and PE building approved next board meeting.

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