Hoosier Prairie to be remodeled, safety behind decision

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Changes are coming to Hoosier Prairie Elementary School, the last of Vigo County’s “open concept” schools.

Student safety concerns have forced school corporations to rethink what was once a popular school design.

Jennifer Russell is the principal of Hoosier Prairie Elementary School.  She says the students and staff at her school are very excited for the changes that are coming their way.

“They want to know what’s going to happen, what it’s going to look like, how it’s going to change,” Russell said.

On Monday night, the Vigo County School Board voted to sink more than $4 million into the school.  Most of the money will be spent on remodeling the school.

The school has what’s called an “open concept.”  The walls separating these two classrooms are temporary and can be removed.  Russell says these false walls will make way for permanent ones.

“Those children who may have ADHD and be easily distracted are now going to have that enclosed classroom where they can focus much better,” said Russell.

As much as student performance is a motivating factor in making this move, student safety plays the biggest role behind this decision.

Because of school shootings, the Vigo County School Corporation have been busy remodeling open concept schools so that classroom teachers truly have classrooms, and more importantly, doors that lock.

Russell says she’s also excited for the changes coming to her school, which will be completed in time for next school year.

“We are going to do a couple of projects over spring break, some flooring projects.  The rest of it will take place over the summer and we’ll be back in the building before school starts,” said Russell.

This project also includes making the school more energy-efficient.  Plans include new indoor and outdoor lighting, temperature control upgrades, new air conditioning, and new windows.

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