The Tribe Times

Bond passes to expand overcrowded high school

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Amanda Holt, Staff Writer

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In November, voters of Smithville voted yes on a bond which allows the high school to add to and renovate the school.

The construction will start in 3 to 4 weeks. It will start with fixing the roof over the library, the office area and the cafeteria in that hallway, over Mr. Vitek’s area and the cook’s area, and Mr. Viebrock’s area.

The counselor center will be moving to Ms. Gaiser’s room. Where the counselor center is, is where Mrs. Whitehead, the bookkeeper, is going to go. The ISS room will be moving, as well,  because that’s the entrance into the new area. It will be where part of Mrs. McCluskey’s room is.

The gravel parking lot will be made larger so more students can drive to school and park on campus.

“It’s going to be a huge construction zone,” Chris Heslinga, assistant principal said.

Some older classrooms are getting redone as well. Rebecca Carnes, science teacher, has one of those classrooms.

“They are gonna tear the entire room out. Anything that’s in here is gonna go away and they’re gonna put in lab tables. There will be three lab tables on both walls and then one lab table from the back wall. They’re adding a door to go outside and there’s gonna be a demonstration table in the front,” Carnes said. “I’m excited. I started in this room and then I came back to this room, so it’s one of the original rooms in the high school and I’m just glad to be getting new equipment,”

Carnes’s room will be done with the new school additions in the summer of 2018.

Many classrooms aren’t doing anything with the bond, but the option to change anything is there now.

“At this moment nothing is being added to the high school band room, it’s just going to allow us to maybe consider future building expansions,” said Tom Brockman, band director. “It may give us the opportunity to possibly rework our storage room (or) anything like that. As far as any building to the high school band room that’s not occurring.”

The cafeteria is going to be made bigger and another entrance will be added right by the senior hallway where Ms. McCluskey’s room is.

“They will be adding on to the cafeteria. Our cafeteria is so small they’re going to double the size of that and also add a concession area and, possibly, a student store,” Heslinga said.

Due to the high population of students and need for more educators, many teachers are sharing classrooms or have to go from classroom to classroom on a cart.

“The traveling aspect is detrimental to students and classroom time for my instruction. I have to learn new areas fast and adapt to different classroom organization,” said Jake Sobbe, social studies teacher. “If I had a personal classroom, I can express myself for students also feel more comfortable in direct instruction or in our collaborative learning strategies.”

Eight new classrooms will be added down toward the other end of the building. There will be 4 on the top level and 4 on the bottom level.

“We already have teachers that are sharing, so half of those classrooms are already spoken for,” Heslinga said.

Ms. Gaiser, Mrs. McCluskey and Mrs. Cox are some of the teachers who have claimed these classrooms.

Most of these renovations will not be done for the 2017-18 school year.

“It takes a long time to get this done,” Heslinga said. “I’m hoping that the parking lot will be done (for the 2017-18 school year), obviously the roofing part will be done, and they will already be digging dirt next fall for the new construction so it will be able to open up in the fall of 2018.”

Heslinga feels that students will benefit from this bond.

“Obviously I support it. It’s gonna help students. The cafeteria is one of the biggest things because it’s just so small. Having additional classrooms that will support the teachers so they’re not on consent carts and sharing classrooms like the band room, the choir room. I’m truly excited for the new changes coming up. It’s a win-win for everybody,” Heslinga said.

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