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01-12-05 Church may buy old Parkway school

By Betty Lawrence

  ROCKFORD --  A local church is interested in the Parkway High and Elementary School building, set to be demolished after the new school is completed.

  Pastor Michael Berne of the Rockford United Methodist Church told Parkway board of education members on Tuesday that his church may be interested in purchasing five acres of land where the school building is now located.
  "We are growing and there is no room to expand where our church is located. We just aren't large enough where we're at now," Berne said.
  The First United Methodist Church is located at 202 S. Franklin St., just two blocks north of the Parkway school at 401 S. Franklin St.
  "Our church has a lot of community activities and has a lot of after-school programs. We would be close to the new school, yet still be in town and our building committee feels it would be a good combination of the town, school and church," Berne said.  Future church ministry ideas include a food bank, clothing bank/store and childcare center, Berne told the board, adding the church may even consider hooking onto the present gym area if the school facility is only partially demolished.
  The board has considered using the land for bus parking and possibly a softball diamond.
  "There is nothing definite right now with what will happen," Karst said, agreeing to look into the legalities of the purchase. He also suggested conducting a public meeting on the issue.  
  The district's new preschool to grade 12 school facility is expected to be up and running in 2006.
  Also at the Tuesday school board meeting, high school Principal Greg Puthoff said he is working on an updated curriculum guide for the 2005-2006 school year.
  He said he would like to see the eighth-grade physical education become a high school credit and possibly combining some of the eighth- and ninth-grade classes.
  The school's college financial aid meeting has been rescheduled for Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, he said, adding the school's National Honor Society is planning a fund-raiser for the tsunami victims.
  In his report, middle school Principal Steve Baumgartner said the aged building in Willshire has experienced several malfunctioning problems lately, including a sump pump that went out, boiler problems and garbage disposal.
  "We're just trying to keep things going until we can move into the new school," he said.


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