McCOOK, Nebraska -- A McCook Elementary teacher waits anxiously for her new classroom.
"I can't wait. I can't wait. I can't wait," laughs teacher Laura Nokes. Laura's Structured Resource classroom is one of two new classrooms in an addition built this year onto the northwest corner of McCook Elementary. The second classroom will be for Laura Blomstedt's Development Learning Center students.
The new classroom wing was paid for with a $366,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus grant awarded to MPS and earmarked specifically for special education.
McCook Elementary Principal Lynda Baumbach said the new wing and McCook Elementary blend seamlessly, not only where hallways connect, but also in their cabinetry and paint colors. "There's a great, natural transition," Baumbach said. "It doesn't look or feel like an add-on at all."
The Structured Resource classroom is much larger than its current classroom, and has been designed with its own restroom and quiet rooms.
The Development Learning Center classroom is also much larger than the current room. It is designed with its own outside entrance, its own kitchen with a refrigerator for special feeding needs and medications and its own handicap accessible restroom. An adjoining room is designated for physical and occupational therapy.
"I really like how bright the rooms are," Linda said.
Moving the special education classrooms into the new wing will free up two classrooms in the now-six-year-old "new" area of McCook Elementary and the original areas of the former North Ward.
The current structured resource room will be used by Cindy Monnahan, a counselor who is located now in an ante-room off the library. It will also be used for individual interventions and counselors from outside agencies. There's room for storage as well, Baumbach said. "There's never enough storage," she said.
The DLC room will be used for occupational therapy and Title classes, and as a general workroom for teachers.