County schools make adjustments
Some changes transpire slowly, sometimes change happens overnight, and sometimes Mother Nature roars in and demands change. The North and South Summit School Districts are going to be different this year. At some schools, building upkeep and other minor adjustments will be the only differences going into the 2008-09 school year. South Summit Middle School (SSMS) on the other hand is in the midst of a full-scale renovation.
South Summit Middle School
A destructive roof collapse caused by excessive snow left part of SSMS buried in February, 2008. Middle school students and teachers now find themselves in the middle of a remodel, requiring creativity and patience on the part of everybody using SSMS facilities. Middle school principal Wade Woolstenhulme said that the collapse took place next to the gym, directly on top of the dressing rooms. Fortunately, the collapse took place around nine p.m. when the building was vacant.
According to Barry Walker, South Summit School District (SSSD) superintendent, crews are working on cleaning-up and sectioning-off the construction area from the rest of the building. This will isolate the construction until it is completed. Walker said the project should be finished in May of 2009.
Woolstenhulme, explained that the two gymnasiums are under construction but are expected to open with new flooring in October. Physical Education classes will use South Summit Aquatic and Fitness Center facilities or conduct classes outside, taking advantage of lingering summer temperatures, until the gyms are available.
Woolstenhulme said that the gymnasium dressing rooms, shop and home economics classrooms, two racquetball courts, and the chorus room were all demolished. The chorus room will be rebuilt and a piano lab will be added where, according to Woolstenhulme, 5th grade students can look forward to learning how to read music and play the piano. The shop and home economics classrooms will be replaced. Two racquetball courts are being rebuilt. They will belong to the recreation center. Five sixth-grade classrooms are also being added to the building.
This year shop classes will be held at South Summit High School (SSHS). Music, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Spanish classes will be reassigned to unaffected parts of the building.
SSMS students getting ready to plug-in their alarm clocks can look forward to starting school twenty minutes later this year. The first bell will ring at 7:50 at SSMS and school will stay in session until 2:26. According to Woolstenhulme, a new bell schedule has been created that will isolate the sixth grade by creating a "building within a building" situation. All SSMS students will begin and end at the same time but the sixth graders won’t cross paths with the older students during the school day, Woolstenhulme said.
South Summit School District
Apart from the middle school renovation, changes around SSSD will be minimal this year. Walker said that six new teachers have been hired, most at the elementary level. Dusty Ercanbrack will teach Future Farmers of America and Biology at SSHS. Dan Eckert is a new special education teacher who will split his time between the middle school and high school. Kip Bigelow has been appointed the district’s new business administrator.
SSHS will open its doors to students at 7:30, 15 minutes later than last year, allowing students a few extra minutes of shut-eye or study time, whichever they prefer. The bell schedule was pushed back to alleviate concerns that students were traveling to school or waiting for the bus in the dark.
North Summit School District
When doors open to students at North Summit School District schools August 20, things should look quite similar to last year. Superintendent Steve Carlsen said that they’ve had a quiet summer. One new second grade teacher has been hired. School facilities have been given small, upkeep-related improvements including fresh paint and small remodels.
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