A large crowd of about 1,000 people gathered at Salina South High School Monday evening to celebrate what Principal Curtis Stevens called “South High 2.0, with windows.”
A ribbon cutting and open house was held to celebrate the 14th, and final project of the 2014 Salina USD 305 voter approved multi-million dollar bond issue.
The total remodel of Salina South High School was the largest, and most aggressive of all the projects.
The pod classrooms, which the school became known for when it opened in 1971, are no more. Rooms in new wings have taken the place of the old pods, which were wide open.
Most of the rooms in the pods had no permanent walls, no doors, and none had windows. Though the district worked hard at maintaining them, over the years there were multiple issues with the pods. The roof leaked. Other issues included things like floors that were sinking, and concerns about asbestos and mold. There were concerns about school safety. And there were heating and cooling challenges as well.
The new wings still have the open pod concept, but with glass, doors, and yes windows.
There are multiple features that contribute to a new, unique, learning environment. Along with the modern classrooms, there are collaborative common work areas for students to utilize. Students can gather in these areas to work and to relax.
There is a coffee-shop type snack bar and a cougar store, staffed by students. The currency used is “cougar dollars,” which can be earned, among other ways, through academic progress and through good behavior.
USD 305 Superintendent Dr. James Hardy told KSAL News the new school has the feel of a college.
Highlights of the new school include:
• Controlled entryway with new administration area
• 42 new general classrooms
• New science classrooms/labs
• New Career and Technical Education (CTE) program spaces
• New art area
• New media center
• Renovations to culinary arts department
• New commons/cafeteria
• New auxiliary gym built as a storm shelter
• Renovated athletics areas (including swimming pool)
South Principal Curtis Stevens told KSAL News the new school would not be possible without the support of the community.
After the ribbon was cut Monday evening the large crowd, which included past and current South students, faculty, staff, family, and friends headed inside to be some of the first to see the new school, and to meet the current faculty and staff.
Salina voters approved a $110.7 million bond issue in April of 2014. The bond addressed needs district-wide, including safety and security, all-day Kindergarten, career and technical education and major improvements at both high schools. Among those improvements were the much-needed renovation of Salina South High School.
Salina South High School Principal Curtis Stevens speaks at the ribbon cutting event at the newly renovated school.
Posted by Newsradio 1150 KSAL on Monday, August 27, 2018