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Wed, Oct. 23

Miner Editorial | KUSD needs to give up on Palo Christi, look elsewhere for elementary school

Palo Christi is an important part of Kingman. It is nearly 100 years old, and the classrooms have taught several generations of Kingmanites. It was a beacon during its time.

But it is time for Kingman Unified School District to let it go.

KUSD has been in talks for quite some time about what is going to happen to Palo Christi.

Orcutt Winslow, an architecture firm from Phoenix, spoke to the board Jan. 23 about the different cost factors that have to go into the school.

More than $16 million would have to go into Palo Christi to get it back up to code, but the district would also have to consider the school is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since the school is a historical building, there are certain regulations that need to be followed to preserve the historical look of the building.

Many things need to be fixed at Palo Christi, such as the windows, roof, sprinkler system, ADA accessibility and other issues.

At its February school board meeting, board members approved having an investment company and a political consulting company speak to the board on what they have to do in order to ask the community for a “TBD million dollar bond” and how to do the bond process politically. The bond would help with the Palo Christi refurbishment issues and with other things the district may need.

The Daily Miner understands the need for another elementary school. Class sizes are growing to the point of ridiculous. Teachers, rooms and technology are overtaxed with the sheer number of children the school district is groaning under.

However, KUSD simply doesn’t have the money to reopen Palo Christi. An education bond, for an undisclosed amount of millions of dollars, would never make it through the district voters.

The district is also considering moving the Little Explorers Early Learning Center to Palo Christi and opening up La Senita as an elementary school.

The Daily Miner editorial board would recommend the last action to KUSD. La Senita would be far more economical to turn into an elementary.

This is the simpler, and cheaper, solution. Outfit La Senita, do any upgrades needed, get teachers and students in there and take off. It would virtually take no work to get that building fully functional as an elementary school.

There are two possible options to do this.

With about 12 rooms currently free, it would be possible for La Senita to keep the Little Explorers program and open up the other rooms for elementary students. This would add room for about 500 students.

A second option would be to move the Little Explorers program back to Desert Willow, which was where it originally was, and open La Senita as a fully-fledged elementary school.

We love Palo Christi. We truly want to see it somehow restored to its former glory, including the nature trail with it. However, the Daily Miner doesn’t think KUSD is the one to do it.

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