Bond proposes department renovations

Gym, auditorium, science wing to be redesigned

The election for the district’s school bond will take place on Nov. 7. The bond proposes new construction for Walton Rural Life Center, returning to K-5 in the elementary schools and grades six through eight in the middle schools to solve overcrowding, and several major changes throughout the high school.

If passed, the high school will have $41 million to spend. Aside from maintenance of normal wear and tear, the original footprint of the high school that has not been touched in 44 years is addressed in the propositions, along with plans for a new gym and renovations to the current gyms.

“The locker room areas in the main gym are definitely in need of some updating and probably new lockers because we have broken lockers and just the wear and tear,” assistant principal and athletic director Brian Becker said.

The original footprint includes areas one, two, four, five and six. In these areas, the removable walls would be taken out and the classrooms and hall space would be redesigned and rebuilt with permanent walls. The bond also includes a new science wing with six classrooms and a collaborative space for student projects. As the school has aged, much of the science department’s crucial infrastructure has deteriorated.

“Things are just worn out; the infrastructure, the pipes, the water drains, gas, electricity, it is all outdated. It has outlived its expected usefulness,” science teacher Jerry Epp said.
The science department also struggles with space issues. According to Epp, some rooms do not meet the amount of square foot required per student for a lab classroom combo.

“The National Association of Science Teachers put up guidelines and there are several of our rooms that do not meet those guidelines because they’re just too small.” Epp said.
In the original layout, many classrooms were found to be too small and angled, which led to problems with technology.

“It is difficult to find a space to put a white board or a projector so that you can use the technology you have and that all students can see it,” superintendent Deborah Hamm said.

Student-friendly and collaborative space is another area that needs attention. Collaborative space allows students to work on projects outside of the classroom. In the high school, this has already been addressed in small amounts.

“One of the things Mrs. Moore has done is adding the tall tables in the school to make it more student-friendly,” Hamm said.

Even with the space smaller classrooms do have, furniture and room design have also caused spacial and collaborative issues.

“This facility was designed and built in the early 70s and the way that most of the rooms are arranged, they are not able to be rearranged for a more flexible learning environment,” Epp said.

Another set of propositions brought into consideration are for the auditorium. The proposal includes a complete renovation, updated lighting, more advanced sound technologies as well as new seats. Drama teacher Michael Parker believes that these changes are crucial to prepare students planning to pursue theater careers.

“In order to keep up with what other schools have and keep up with the industry, the auditorium really needs to be brought up into the 21st century,” Parker said.

The auditorium is not the only part of the performing arts center that would be changed. Because of the prospective remodeling of the original building, all classrooms related to the fine arts would also be remodeled.

For more information, visit the 2017 Bond Information page on the district website.

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