◆ Officials plan additions to Afton and Osmond Elementary Schools as well as upgrades to SVHS Braves Field.
Significant construction and maintenance projects are in the 2022 summer calendar for Lincoln County School District No. 2.
According to Matt Erickson, LCSD No. 2 Superintendent, crews are scheduled to break ground the last week of May on additions to Afton Elementary School and Osmond Elementary School to accommodate increased enrollment at the schools. Star Valley High School’s Braves Field is also slated for a remodel with the installation of new field turf and new lighting.
“We have seen consistent growth over the last decade,” Erickson shared in an interview with Dahl Erickson on the SVI Radio Network Weekday Wake Up yesterday morning. “We are currently at 107% of capacity at Afton and Osmond Elementary Schools. Star Valley Middle School is at 103% capacity. We have had a lot of growth, especially in South Star Valley in terms of students. We know that the major growth, population wise, is at the North end of our valley, but there is more student growth at the South end of the valley. Afton is a really new school and in phenomenal shape, but we have capacity issues [throughout the district] and we are going to see those capacity issues and concerns crop up in our other schools in Star Valley as well.”
The Afton Elementary addition includes eight new classrooms, and the Osmond addition will provide three new classrooms. It takes years to complete the process of establishing a valid need for additions to educational facilities. Districts complete study, which helps officials determine the most cost-effective way to address capacity concerns. LCSD No. 2 explored all possibilities, including reconfiguration of grades and redistribution of school boundaries. With that exploration, officials determined that adding classrooms to each school would be the most cost-effective way to address the growing need to accommodate more children in each elementary school at the lower end of the valley.
In the interview, Erickson also discussed the need to install new turf on the Braves Field at SVHS. Once installed, turf typically lasts about 10 years with the level of use SVHS athletes dish out. The Braves Field turf was installed in 2008 and has served LCSD No. 2 students well beyond the typical expectation due to vigilant care by maintenance crews.
“We did an impact study,” explained Erickson. “[The Field] is not as safe as it once was. With the impact study, we were looking at replacing it within the next 5 years, but with some COVID moneys and things that are available this year, we felt the time was right. The school board was gracious enough to approve this last month, so we will be replacing the turf at Braves Field and the lighting as well.”
Funds to replace the turf and lighting come out of the district’s Major Maintenance budget, which is provided by the state. Erickson assured patrons in the interview that the district is financially sound and able to stay within budget guidelines with the remodel. With cost landing around $750,000, district officials believe that it’s money well spent and should provide safe athletic experiences on the Field for the next 10 to 15 years.
“Safety is our biggest concern, and we want to meet those impact requirements and keep kids safe.”