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School board approves rebuilding of Lookingglass Elementary gymnasium on campus

March 9, 2017 GMT

WINSTON — Tears of joy filled the eyes of Lookingglass Elementary School parents and staff Wednesday as the Winston-Dillard School District Board of Education unanimously approved option one that favored rebuilding of the gymnasium that burned in a fire late last December on the school’s campus.

Option one was one of three options presented by an HMK Project Management representative at a board meeting several weeks ago in the aftermath of the fire, with option two recommending to rebuild elsewhere in the district and option three recommending to take a cash settlement.

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Fire destroys gymnasium at historic Lookingglass Elementary School LOOKINGGLASS — A two-alarm fire destroyed the historic Lookingglass Elementary School gymnasium late Tuesday night, reducing it to smoldering ruins early this morning after it caught fire shortly after 11 p.m.

After the meeting, Lookingglass School parent Paul Bodenhamer said that he was enthused to hear about the board’s decision to rebuild the gymnasium.

“There’s a lot of history there and it’s a place where a lot of families grew up,” Bodenhamer said. “We appreciate the board and everybody’s help and all the community’s help. It’s going to be exciting now.”

Lookingglass first grade instructor Emily Ledbetter was also appreciative of the board’s decision.

“It’s a whole lot of relief,” Ledbetter said. “We were a little worried, as the decision could have gone either way. We felt the school board’s support the whole time, but numbers are what talks. It always comes down to the numbers and we’re glad they voted in our favor.”

Lookingglass gym remembered by former students LOOKINGGLASS – When the Lookingglass Elementary School gymnasium went up in flames late Tuesday night, so did a lot of history.

At a February board work session, option one considered an estimated $3.2 million price tag for rebuilding the destroyed gymnasium on the school’s campus, which included code upgrades and soft costs. Option two looked at rebuilding at another school district location at a replacement cost of the loss, but would not include code upgrades and soft costs at the new location.

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Option three proposed a cash settlement at approximately 53 percent of the cost estimate to rebuild, with a cash settlement that amounted to about $1.7 million based on depreciation. This money would not have limitations and could have been used for any purpose by the district.

“I think the decision the board made tonight was great,” said Lookingglass School parent Andrew Bachmeier. “They made the right choice for the kids.”

WDSD Superintendent Kevin Miller said he plans to meet with HMK Project Management representatives today to discuss the timeline of the future rebuilding of the gymnasium.

Canyonville Elementary gives books to Lookingglass School CANYONVILLE — Lookingglass Elementary School, which lost its library and all the books in the gymnasium fire in December, has a good start at replacing the books, thanks to donations from several schools in the county. And Canyonville Elementary School went a step farther.

“The meeting will be all about the design and construction of the project,” Miller said.

Miller said the school district had 12 months from the day of the fire to rebuild the building and that waivers could be obtained if needed during construction should it go beyond the 12 months.

He plans to provide more information to the community about the reconstruction project as he receives it in his Friday Lookingglass School Updates section located on the school district’s website at www.wdsd.org.

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