BTEC Practical Nursing Program May Move to Central Elementary

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BOONVILE - The Boonville School system wants to get more use out of an old building.  But quietly, some of the people involved don't like the idea.

The plan is to move a practical nursing program into Central Elementary from the Boonslick Technical Education Center down the street.  Problem is, toilets, drinking fountains and other facilities are just right for baby bears -- not adults in a nursing program.  It'll cost upwards of 30-thousand dollars to retro fit the second floor of the elementary building's second floor for the adult nursing students. That would put more electrical outlets into each room, fix the floor boards, level the floors, put in air conditioning window units and many other renovations. Other renovations include making the building handicap accessible.

The former elementary school now houses students punished with in-school suspensions, a day care and two other programs; all on the first floor. The building stopped being used an elementary school in 2009.

Paul Wootten -- who runs the Technical Education Center with the nursing program -- said the old building has 'character' and is 'underutilized space.' He said that if the practical nursing program moved to the elementary school, more students could attend BTEC.

BTEC has been in Boonville since 1968. The school has four programs in its building behind Boonville High School, the largest  being the agriculture program. Wootten added the school hopes to go from 85 students utilizing the building to between 250 - 300 students within the next three years.

The practical nursing program currently has 25 full-time students on a very rigorous schedule. Students for the program have ranged in age from recent HS graduates to students in their 50s.

Superintendent of the Boonville R-1 School District Mark Ficken said the cost for the move is yet to be determined and still needs to be evaluated before making anything final. He added the earliest possible date for the practical nursing program to move is this winter break.

KOMU spoke to several people, who would not go on camera, but said Central Elementary School is not the appropriate place for adult students. Because the school is older and originally designed for young children, adults may not necessarily be very comfortable with the facilities.