It’s been a brave new world for students at Salina South High School as they returned from spring break. While it can be a struggle to get back into the normal routine following a long break, it’s been even more of a challenge this week at South.
The first of three phases of the school’s major reconstruction is complete, and during spring break the science, math, technology, and special education classrooms were moved from the decaying old pods they were in, and relocated in the brand new STEM wing.
South Principal Curtis Stevens tells KSAL News that the newly finished wing is transforming the school into “South High 2.0, with windows.”
The old pods were wide open. Most rooms had no permanent walls, no doors, and none had windows. Stevens says that the new wing still has the open concept, but with glass, doors, and yes windows.
There are multiple features that contribute to a new, unique, learning environment.
As you walk through the halls on the upper level to math and science classes you are able to look down and get an inside look at career opportunities in the career and technical education programs and see students actually working. An example is the construction science program. Windows look down over it, and observers will see a manufactured home being built from the ground up. The plan is for the students from the program, in collaboration with community business and industry partners, to build a home each school year. Not only will students build the home, they will also market and auction it.
There are collaborative common work areas for students to utilize. They can gather in these areas to work and to relax.
There will be a coffee-shop type snack bar and a cougar store, staffed by students. The currency used will be “cougar dollars,” which can be earned, among other ways, through academic progress and through good behavior.
Stevens credits the entire Salina South community with working together to make this first major move as smooth as possible.
While science, math, technology, and special education teachers have relocated to the new wing, other teachers are still in pod classrooms while phase II of the project gets under way. The wing that houses arts and English classes is still to be built. Those teachers, and their students, have the rest of this school year and all of the next school year to teach out of what are now temporary pod classrooms. Their new wing is scheduled to open during the Fall of 2018.
Once the arts wing opens in 2018, phase III of the project begins. The last of the pods will be demolished to make way for parking. This should take just a matter of weeks to complete.
For periodic, multi-media updates on the project you can follow Principal Curtis Stevens on Twitter.
Salina voters approved a $110.7 million bond issue in April 2014. The bond addresses district needs including safety and security, all-day Kindergarten, career and technical education and major improvements at both high schools. The eight elementary buildings are receiving new kindergarten rooms, multi-purpose storm shelters and controlled entryways.
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