The Ellsworth Community School District encompasses a large geographic area relative to the number of students it serves. Three small and aging elementary school facilities required significant repairs and upgrades. Ayres was part of the team that assisted the School District in exploring options to solve short- and long-term facility issues. Those options included consolidating the elementary schools into one building or completing additions/remodeling at all existing facilities in their current locations.
The final recommendation to the Board of Education from a long-standing, community-based committee was to close the small elementary facilities, consolidate into one larger elementary school, and construct the new elementary school on the existing central campus in Ellsworth. This solution required a thoughtful analysis of the existing campus, a careful review of its opportunities and limitations, and an understanding of phasing construction to keep all facilities in safe operation.
After reviewing several design options, the campus plan was approved. It includes a new five-section elementary school, remodeling of existing middle and high schools, and new campus drives and play fields. With what appeared to be favorable public support for this plan, a two-part referendum was held but was defeated by voters. Seeking even greater input from the district’s constituents, a formal survey was conducted after the vote. From these studies and with the survey results in mind, a revised referendum was proposed in August 2015 and was accepted. The new Ellsworth Community Elementary School was completed in December 2017 and opened in January 2018.