One of Christine Davis' first projects as principal at Ballwin Elementary
was figuring out which space at the school should be transformed into its Innovation Room. For inspiration, she thought back to the first time she worked a summer program at Ballwin, before she became principal.
"The multipurpose room, to be used for something like curriculum or the kids to do some quality learning, it was just not an aesthetically pleasing space," Davis said. "I thought, 'If we could come in here and do something really awesome in this space, what a world of difference it would make.'"
This summer, the former multipurpose room has been transformed into Ballwin's Innovation Room, a space for students to learn and create and for teachers to emphasize the STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – fields. As part of the 2017 bond issue, Rockwood School District built an Innovation Room at all 19 of its elementary schools.
The one at Ballwin, which opens this school year, was the last to be constructed, but Davis said that had its perks. It allowed the school's innovation committee, composed of representatives from all grade levels, to travel around the district and see what aspects it wanted in Ballwin's room.
Wall-embedded dry-erase boards and big, inviting windows are defining characteristics of Ballwin's space. Davis said she's worked with Director Technical Support Bob Deneau, Instructional Technology Specialist Ellen Downs and Coordinator STEM K-12 Brian Reed to equip the room.
"The staff appreciated that it was a collaborative effort, not just one or two people making all these decisions," Davis said. "To see it come to fruition is really exciting."Other Bond Issue Projects
-- The construction of a multipurpose room at Wildwood Middle
, which will also serve as a tornado safe room, is awaiting word on a possible grant from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) before it continues. Rockwood Chief Financial Officer Paul Northington said the district applied for the $1 million grant in the spring for the Wildwood project, which is estimated to cost around $2.75 million. The room could be ready for the 2020-2021 school year if crews are able to restart the project by the fall. The district is committed to building the safe room regardless of whether it is awarded the grant. "We're not dependent on the grant," said Chris Freund, director facilities. "The project is funded, and it's going to happen. It's just on hold pending the grant results."
-- More than $1.2 million in regular maintenance projects have been completed around the district this summer. The majority of that price tag came from flooring upgrades.