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Operations underway at district office, learning center

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
The lobby area at the new Dodge City Unified School District 443 administration building. The facility began operations on July 1. [PHOTO BY JUDD WEIL/DODGE CITY DAILY GLOBE[

The new Dodge City Public Schools District Office and Learning Center officially opened to all non-certified employees and the public on July 1.

While the new district office can serve the public now, Dodge City Unified School District 443 is asking that all visitation-necessary services be scheduled by appointment and that patrons wear face masks when visiting any of the departments.

Unlike the previous admission building, USD 443 owns the new building located at 2112 N. 1st Avenue, and the extensive construction and other renovations were payed for by capital outlay funds.

“We have officially accepted the building from Hutton and there are a few warranty items that are being addressed,” said Simeon Russell, executive director of business and operations.

The new building has several facilities, vastly improving the amount of space that was unavailable at the old administration building, including:

• An accommodating lobby.

• Expanded office space for human resources, the Migrant Department, Business and Payroll, Academic and Education Services, among other things.

• Conference rooms and meeting rooms with media additions such as televisions and sound systems.

First Stop is officially open for face-to-face visits by appointment, and USD 443 is reminding parents and legal guardians that up-and-coming kindergartners, as well as students that are new to the school district, are required to register at First Stop.

The Southwest Kansas Area Cooperative District 613 now also has offices to operate from the district office and learning center.

“One of the reasons we really like having them here is because 65 percent of their business is Dodge City public schools,” said Kerri Baker, public information officer. “Since we’re such a huge chunk of that, we like having them here.”

Additionally, the “Make-It Take-It” craft center is also open for teachers to make things for their classroom, as well as community use.

The building also hosts additional storage and restroom facilities.

As of now, USD 443 is not hosting open house events or tours until they are able to safely open to large public gatherings, and plans for the public to be able to rent meeting spaces are on hold due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We’re very pleased with the opportunity to provides services to the district from this new facility, and we are grateful to the community for everything that has come to fruition here,” said Fred Dierksen, superintendent of schools. “Having everything here makes us not only consolidated, but more efficient, and we’re grateful for that opportunity.”

Appointments can be made by calling 620-371-1000.