With middle school element gone
Ivywild realigns classes, eyes community center

       Having reverted to an elementary for the 2005-06 school year, Ivywild School will have more space. Principal Libby Bailey hopes to take advantage of that situation to enhance her school logistically while providing usage opportunities for the neighborhood, she said in a recent interview.
       The logistic move is to relocate all her grades to the main floor of the building. When the school had grades 6-8, there were also kindergarten and first-grade classrooms on the lower floor.
       “We're also trying to get a preschool,” added Bailey, who just completed her first year as Ivywild principal. “It will be at the south end of the building and have its own entrance.”
       Another goal is to convert the empty downstairs into a community center, creating adult uses for those classrooms. “Hopefully we can have ESL (English as a Second Language), parenting classes and GED (general educational development),” she said.
       Possible tenants for the center would be the Boys and Girls Club, City Parks, or the YMCA. A model for her plan includes the intergenerational center, built into the side of West Middle School, which offers various classes, services and community programs days and evenings.
       “The overall push is to get more parents involved, so they'll feel comfortable coming to the building and become more active,” Bailey said.
       An in-depth District 11 study a year ago identified Ivywild as underutilized, and suggested that it be closed to save district money. The Board of Education has since given Ivywild a reprieve, but Bailey agrees that her building ought to be “more viable,” as she put it. Other potential benefits from her community center plans will be bringing more money into the school and “improving the impression the community has of the Ivywild area,” she said.

Westside Pioneer article