New Member of the Family

Second High School in the Works

Moving+Forward%3A+Plans+for+the+new+high+school+have+been+drawn+up+and+are+just+waiting+approval.+%22The+design+planning+has+already+started+because+of+the+amount+of+time+it+takes+to+design+and+plan+a+new+building%2C%22+Mr.+Lightle+said.+%22Construction+may+not+begin+until+the+community+votes+on+the+bond+issue+and+it+passes.+The+soonest+that+would+start+would+be+after+the+November+election+next+fall.%22+Once+approval+is+given%2C+the+new+high+school+will+begin+construction.

Emma Mayer

Moving Forward: Plans for the new high school have been drawn up and are just waiting approval. "The design planning has already started because of the amount of time it takes to design and plan a new building," Mr. Lightle said. "Construction may not begin until the community votes on the bond issue and it passes. The soonest that would start would be after the November election next fall." Once approval is given, the new high school will begin construction.

Gretna was established on July 10, 1889. Shortly after, the Burlington Railroad laid tracks through the once small town. According to the World Population Review, Gretna grew at an average rate of 14.4% each year. About 3.13% of Gretna’s population is both kids in either primary or High School. Due to this growth, the Gretna Public School district has added additional schools at the rate of one every two years, Falling Waters Elementary will be the newest school to open in fall 2020.
“The enrollment is growing so the current high school will be overcapacity in the near future,” Asst. Superintendent and Transportation Mr. Travis Lightle said. “There are ways to alleviate the capacity issues in the short term\; however, the enrollment will only continue to grow with students already in the district, so there needs to be a more long term solution.”
Since the edition and development of a second middle school, the district now consists of five elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Although the new high school has been designed, a bond issue must pass before construction can begin..
“The second high school would need to be paid for with a successful bond issue,” Mr. Lightle said. “We have a voluntary Citizen’s Building Committee that started meeting in January and will continue to meet the next two months. This committee listens to various presentations on needs and costs before presenting their recommendation to the school board. The school board will then call for a bond election to be voted on in November 2020. If the bond issue fails, other short term solutions would have to be looked at such as portable classrooms, higher class sizes, etc. Currently, the cost of the new school has not been finalized. They have a number they are using as they discuss the bond issue but those numbers include many items that are outside the scope of construction costs. Some of those items are architecture fees, permits, sewer hook-ups, new roads, etc.”
If the bond passes, many GHS teachers may move to the new one. By splitting staff, the new high school will be able to get a strong start with experienced GPS staff members.

Emma Mayer
Breaking Ground: Although the both for the second high school has not been approved, plans have already began. “The land for the second high school was purchased with previous bond money and is located north and east of the Aspen Creek Middle School,” Mr. Lightle said. “If the bond issue passes the first step will be to bid the project and find a contractor to construct the building. The hope is that most of the planning has already taken place so this process could start quickly allowing construction to begin as soon as possible.”

“I would assume that the district will follow similar procedures when opening a second high school that are followed when we open a new elementary school or when we opened the second middle school,” Mr. Lightle said. “Our goal is always to have a balance of new and experienced staff. In order to maintain that balance, some staff members will have to move to the new building. The process involves input from staff members and many meetings with administrators who focus on having equitable buildings so students receive a similar education regardless of the building he or she attends.”
Developing a new school not only provides more space for students but also for teachers, giving teachers the opportunity to personalize one’s future workspaces to help further teaching techniques. Despite all the hope and plans, nothing can be set in stone until the bond is approved.
“The design planning has already started because of the amount of time it takes to design and plan a new building,” Mr. Lightle said. “The land for the second high school was purchased with previous bond money and is located north and east of the Aspen Creek Middle School. If the bond issue passes the first step will be to bid the project and find a contractor to construct the building. The hope is that most of the planning has already taken place so this process could start quickly allowing construction to begin as soon as possible.”
The new high school is planned to be able to match the capacity of the current 1,600 students GHS holds. Furthermore, the Citizens Building Committee is available to anyone who would like to learn more about the new high school. The committee holds a meeting on the last Thursday of each month to answer any questions and/or address any concerns.