Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 12/13 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session and a regular meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at 6 p.m.


LPS 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan

Imagine four new elementary schools, two new middle schools and new high school space in some form – as part of the next decade at Lincoln Public Schools. 

Those possibilities, and much more, were introduced at a Lincoln Board of Education work session Tuesday as the beginning of a conversation about what should be identified as priorities for facilities and infrastructure in the next 10 years for our school district.

Lanny Boswell, chair of the Board of Education Planning Committee, said the Planning Committee has spent the last several months reviewing enrollment trends, student demographics, the city’s comprehensive plan – has taken city growth tours to study the hot spot development areas of Lincoln.  “This work session is the beginning of a lengthy conversation, an introduction of the needs in our school district.”

In fact, the work session was only the first of what will be a Board and community discussion in updating what is known as the “LPS 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan” – a document that guides the development of schools, additions, renovations, infrastructure and more. 

“We are proud that this school district has been frugal and smart in developing facilities over the years,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Facilities and Maintenance at LPS. 

The document draft discussed Tuesday – which is only an introduction for discussion – identified more than $486 million in facility and infrastructure needs in the school district. The 10-year plan is meant to identify all needs, Wieskamp said, but stressed that these projects are not yet funded.   

The 10-year draft identified a group of possible priorities for the next decade that mostly target student growth, including:

  •  Four elementary schools added to almost every quadrant of the city: south, southeast, northeast and northwest Lincoln (at a cost of about $20 million per elementary school).
  •  Two middle schools added to: south and northeast Lincoln (at a cost of about $42 million per school).
  •  Adding high school space in some form (such as a traditional high school, which costs about $79 million, and/or high school focus programs, e-learning, other high school concepts and programs).
  •  Renovations to accommodate changing curriculum at existing middle and high schools.
  •  Extensive renovations and additions of geothermal heating/cooling at Everett Elementary School and Park Middle School.
  •  Potential accommodation for early childhood additions at LPS.

Other “tiers” of needs include:

  •  Significant updates and renovations at Campbell, Cavett, Maxey and Roper elementary schools, as well as Lux and Scott middle schools.
  •  Various renovations at Lincoln High, Lincoln East, Lincoln Northeast and Lincoln Southeast high schools.
  •  A variety of additions and renovations to 10 elementary schools and six middle schools.
  •  Adding an eight-lane swimming pool to Lincoln East High (the only LPS high school without an eight-lane competitive pool).
  •  A weight room addition to Lincoln Southeast.
  •  An indoor/outdoor activities/athletics fieldhouse facility for practice (not a competitive arena) serving LPS staff and students.
  •  Completing a data center/generator at LPS District Office.
  •  Replacing the Yankee Hill facility, which houses high school students with behavior needs.

The Plan also includes a potential $38 million in infrastructure costs that includes items such as roof replacement, windows, flooring, basics in playground equipment, parking lot paving, etc.  “We look at infrastructure costs as protecting our investment,” Wieskamp said.  “We have a great preventative maintenance program….and maintaining our buildings is just as important as building a new building to accommodate kids.”

The LPS 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure document was last completely updated in December, 2013 prior to the February 2014 bond issue.  The process for updating the plan will involve at least one or two more work sessions – and possibly more. 


Several significant grants approved

The Board of Education approved two grant applications:

  •  LPS will submit a grant to the Nebraska Department of Education to support implementation of key innovative strategies meant to redesign middle schools. The grant application request will include approximately $2 million over a three-year period. The money will fund a project called Planting the Seeds of Innovation in Middle School, which seeks to increase engagement and achievement among middle school students through a three-pronged strategy: (1) a schoolwide shift to design-based learning and an innovation mindset, (2) a transformation in design and function of learning environments, and (3) schoolwide professional development with innovative industry leaders in STEM and education fields. The project will initially target Goodrich and Moore middle schools.
  •  LPS will submit a grant to the Woods Charitable Fund to support districtwide implementation of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln-developed bullying intervention program. The grant application request will include an average of $380,000 per year for five years, totaling approximately $1.9 million. LPS would like to expand its partnership with UNL’s Department of Educational Psychology to increase utilization of a successful bullying intervention program across the district.

Policy changes proposed 
The Board heard proposed changes in policies related to Community Relations including distribution of community service materials, and use of students for non-school projects.  The changes will be approved at the Jan. 10 meeting.

United Way proposal

The Board of Education considered the submission of a proposal to United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County to support the Two Generation Family Literacy Program in the amount of approximately $30,000 for a one-year funding cycle.  The evidence-based Family Literacy model followed by LPS includes the following four components:

  • Adult Education Instruction—provided through high quality ESL classes
  • Children's Education—teaching literacy through a viable district curriculum
  • Parent and Child Together Time
  • Parenting Classes

 The Board will vote final approval at the Jan. 10 meeting.

Strategic Plan update

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the ongoing strategic planning process – online for about one more week – by taking the survey at:

Staff and Student Celebrations

A Student Celebration at the Board of Education meeting recognized one of the many generous activities at Lincoln Public Schools. As part of the broaderCommunity OutReach program at Irving Middle School – Irving science and social studies teacher Kate Larson presents her students with something called theActs of Kindness Challenge. Presenters Tuesday included Irving teacher Kate Larson and Irving sixth grade students: Maude Kilmer, Graceyn Anderson, Nick Herbin and Adrianna Ambrocio.

The Board also noted two Staff Celebrations, recognizing Lorinda Rice, curriculum specialist for Visual Art in Lincoln Public Schools, honored with the State Supervision and Administration Award by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association; and Jocelyn Lippincott Reiss, art teacher at Lincoln North Star High School, named the State Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association.


Published: December 13, 2016, Updated: December 13, 2016