BEATRICE – The occupancy permit for the new Beatrice Public Schools prekindergarten through fifth grade building is not far off…about two to three weeks out.
Superintendent Jason Alexander says interior work on the facility that will replace four separate buildings, is about 95-percent finished. Some additional exterior work on the grounds has been held up by wet weather.

One of the most important factors built into the new facility, Alexander says, is top-level safety and security for students and staff.
"There's three main entries and the main entry on the south side is the entry people will use primarily, during the day. Outside of drop-off time in the morning, everything else will be locked up. With the push of a button, all of the doors on the interior can be closed simultaneously with the push of that emergency button. There's a security gate which closes off the entry to the west end of the building and there's doors that close off to the east end of the building."

During entry points at the start of the school day, Alexander says visibility and monitoring capability is greatly improved.  "There'll be three main entries where students will arrive...the main entry on the south, the gym entry on the north and then the preschool entry on the east. And those doors are all monitored by security surveillance obviously. But also, those will be the only places that students or parents will be allowed to come in during that drop-off time. Everything will be monitored very closely and locked up after that drop-off time ends, at approximately 8:30 in the morning."

Gymnasium on north side of the building

Library books have been moved to the new building, and teachers will soon be moving other items and preparing their classrooms for the new school year.
Gone will be the days when breakfast and lunch items had to be transported to four separate elementary buildings because of inadequate kitchen space and food preparation area.

"It saves us on the personnel end of things, but I would say for me, the driving force there was providing a healthy lunch to all of our kids. Our kitchen staff did an amazing job with the task of shipping food out to four different locations and making sure it met all the nutrition and health standards. However, there's nothing that can beat a freshly cooked meal in a kitchen and served right off the stove top, so I'm really excited about that....that our students will be getting served a healthy meal every day for lunch, and then of course, breakfast as well."

When the preschool and elementary grades attend this first year in the new building, there will be 925 to 975 students…with room to grow to accommodate up to about 1,025 students.