New construction will increase school security


Gabrielle Wheeler

The offices are currently under construction but are planned to be finished by the 2015-2016 school year.

The bell rings at 8:05 a.m., just as freshman Ava Cormaney’s mother pulls her car into the circle drive on the south side of the school. This year, running a few minutes late generally calls for a quick stop by the attendance office. Next year is a different story.

“At 8:05, the north doors and south doors will be locked; nobody will be able to enter the building, visitor or student, without visiting the office,” assistant principal Mike Hill said.

The attendance office will move to the north doors, and after tardy students and visitors pass through the first set of doors, they will be required to check in with attendance secretary Donna Madl. Since there will be no office on the locked south side of the building, students like Cormaney will have to enter through the north side if they arrive after 8:05 a.m.

The new security procedure is only one part of the ongoing office renovation project, and Hill says the change was prompted by trends of national school violence. The administration worked with the district and architects to create a comprehensive construction plan that would mitigate safety problems.

“It’s a pretty open environment, and that’s not what we prefer,” Hill said. “Everybody’s cognizant of what’s going on across the country in terms of school-related shootings, and trying to secure the building to the best of our ability is paramount.”

Freshman Sapphira Knight agreed the school would be safer because of the new security, but resented the possible hassle it presented for tardy students.

“I think it’s a safe idea, but also a dumb one at the same time,” Knight said.

Next Year's counselor office sits empty while workers are at lunch.
Gabrielle Wheeler
Next Year’s counselor office sits empty while workers are at lunch.

In addition to updating the security protocol, the new offices will include a more student friendly student services area.

“There will be tables and work stations in there that will allow kids to do work on their schedules while they are waiting to meet with counselors,” Hill said. “There is newer furniture so that people can rest comfortably while they’re waiting.”

The financial services office will also be updated to include an easily accessible window for students and staff.

Some students question where their lockers will be next year, as signs were posted on many lockers in the lower north hallway warning of relocation.

“I know that the construction would’ve moved my locker during spring break, but that did not happen,” sophomore Laura Quackenbush said.

Hill stated that despite confusion and panic surrounding locker removal before spring break, there will ultimately be no fewer lockers. Some lockers will be moved to accommodate the doorways and windows of the new classrooms. No lockers are expected to be placed in the middle stairwell area.

Journalism teacher Laurie Folsom, photography teacher Marsha Poholsky, film teacher Scott Smith and career and technology teacher Matt Gudenkauf will occupy the four new rooms. These shifts will aid in making more space available for new classrooms in the rest of the building.

Overall, Hill expects the changes to make things more efficient and effective in the classrooms and the office, and he believes the construction should be finished by the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.