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Concord School and Gym

Dear Members of the Concord Community,

On Thursday during my learning walk at Concord I visited the first grade classroom. Students were doing Star Wars Yoga. Up and down they went, stretching, moving, thinking of Han Solo and Chewbacca, then they focused immediately on their learning after the physical activity! Next door in Ms. Elliott’s 2nd grade room, young mathematicians were adding and subtracting double digit numbers. They used charts and small white boards to practice their work! I then sat with 6th and 8th graders and ate delicious mac & cheese and a spinach salad. During my visit I noticed young people saying hello, laughing, reading, writing, and engaged in learning. At lunch I noticed folks helping clear the food, and the cooks smiling as they served. The faculty and staff were energetic and reaching out to all the children of Concord. It was such a wonderful visit.

In the backdrop of this joy is the gym, sitting empty. It has been an extremely frustrating several weeks not knowing about the gym. I need to take full responsibility for the terrible timing. I did not obtain the information necessary prior to the winter. I should have and I am sorry we are where we are. On January 30 the gym was inspected by a certified engineer and deemed unsafe, the insurance company has reviewed the engineer report and made a recommendation. There is a contractor coming this weekend to clear the snow off the roof. We will let you know on Wednesday a timeline and next steps for the gym. Principal Sherri Gregory sent an email to parents earlier today that has answers to questions along with links to reports, they are here as well:

Link to Frequently Asked Questions
Link to January 30 Engineer Report
Link to Insurance Recommendations-Concord

When I moved to Concord two and a half years ago I felt welcomed at the community holiday craft fair — the energy, creativity and friendly faces filled every corner of the gym. It was my first impression of the building and it comforted me. I know there is food in Sid’s pantry, a kiln in the back room for spring events, fundraising items for the 8th grade trip, and a stage for the theatre performance, these and more, all sitting and waiting for use. The gym is, and has been for many years, the hub of the Concord community. I also know that the roof is not safe with snow on it; we need to take care to make the gym safe for everyone. As I write this, the gym is over the weight limit for safety, and even with the snow removal this weekend, our insurance company is not recommending use in the winter when there is the possibility of snow. The facilities committee of the Kingdom East Board is reviewing a facilities plan, the full board is working to write a strategic plan. I know that work on the Concord facility, including the gym, will be part of this plan. This is the long term solution. For the short term, possibilities will be considered, and a decision about the gym will be communicated to you on Wednesday February 13. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions. I thank you for being a part of the Concord School. Every time I visit I am impressed by the engaging warmth between the walls. I am confident that moving forward we will be able to continue to have our exciting programs and adapt to needed changes.

Jennifer Botzojorns

Superintendent of Schools