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Date of Issue: September 22, 2005

AME seeks construction sub-committees

Anna Maria Elementary School is on schedule to open the doors of a new two-story building when students return from winter vacation in January. But before the doors open, the school could use a few volunteers to help with the move and some of the finishing touches.

Michael Pierce, a parent representative on the construction team, and AME Principal Kathy Hayes, told the School Advisory Committee that the team would like to form four volunteer committees to be involved in different tasks.

First, volunteers are needed to help remove the panels of hand-painted tiles from the school's breezeways. The ceramic tiles are mounted on a wooden boards that have been screwed onto the walls. Most of the panels should only require having the boards removed and stored until they can be placed in the new school, says Pierce.

Pierce said that volunteers could save the construction team $5,000 toward the building costs by removing the boards themselves.

Next, a committee with an eye for art is desired. Hayes noted that the construction team has revived discussion regarding the clock tower design. A survey went out to parents earlier in the construction planning phase in which Hayes reports parents favored a dolphin sculpture to be featured atop the tower.

Pierce said he invited local artist Woody Candish to the team's next construction meeting to discuss the possibility of having him sculpt the school mascot for the tower. Once some designs have been submitted, a committee will be charged with choosing the final design.

Hayes said she is also interested in having a committee select mural designs and other artistic touches for the school's interior.

The old building will be demolished, but Hayes said there has been considerable interest in purchasing parts of the old school for memorabilia, such as a classroom door, desks, and other items.

Hayes said she submitted a request to the Manatee County School Board to have an auction of “old” school items. Hayes said the matter will be on an upcoming school board agenda and, if approved, the district will hire a professional auctioneer and the sale will be advertised to the public.

If approved, items not being moved into the new building, such as desks and books and potentially parts of the building, such as doors, would be auctioned. A committee would also be needed to help with the auction, which Hayes hopes will take place in January.

The final committee of volunteers sought is a group to help with the actual packing and unpacking of the classrooms. Teachers will have to pack all the items being moved from their classrooms to the new school. Once packed, the boxes will be fumigated and moved into the new building, where teachers will be responsible for unpacking. This is scheduled to take place during the winter holiday and AME teachers would welcome help.

Hayes said, apart from finding volunteers, construction is moving along. Stucco is being applied to the back of the building and the interior walls are finished and painted. She said the cabinetry has arrived and the computer lab has been revamped to be more multi-functional should it be needed as an extra full-time classroom.

Hayes said she is also researching whether it is cost efficient to move the old furniture or to buy new furnishings. She noted that other schools have started over, purchasing all new furnishings. She said she is in the process of looking at what is available and considering each classroom starting out with a standard of new items, to give the rooms some uniformity and consistency, such as the same type of desks and chairs. She noted that the new building wouldn't have any cabinets or shelves unless she purchases them.

Finally, Hayes provided a tour of the new building via video at this month's Parent-Teacher Organization meeting. The video shows the entry to the new building, a classroom space and highlights the view of the bay from the second-floor media center. Similar video updates will be shown at future PTO meetings.