A centrally located media center, an art and technology wing and grades separated by floor level are among the design elements for Westside Middle School that were approved by the school board Monday night.

The board voted 6-0 to approve the middle school schematic design by BVH and Gould Evans. Renovation and construction of an addition will start in the summer, and work is expected to be completed in 2018.

Along with upgrades to plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling and security, the design plan improves classroom layouts. However, it continues the school’s tradition of having core subjects — English, science, math and social studies — in a close-knit pod.

The media center, which is currently located in the northwest part of the school, will be moved to a central spot for easy access by all students.

One of the areas could be used as a storm shelter and accommodate the entire school population.

Principal Russ Olsen said the design benefits students and teachers.

“The positive feedback that I’m receiving from the staff is overwhelming,” he said.

At its Feb. 1 meeting, the board voted unanimously to change the name of the district’s alternative high school. Formerly known as Westside High School Career Center, the school, near 108th and Grover Streets, now will be called Westside High School West Campus.

“Students feel like their voices are heard,” West Campus Principal Jenni Allen told board members Monday.

The building is being renovated, with construction expected to end in July.

The first floor will house the West Campus and a career center. Other schools, such as Oakdale Elementary, will hold classes on the upper floor while their buildings are being remodeled.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, alia.conley@owh.com

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