Administration Continues Planning as Construction Date Nears


A large wooden box in the media center with a sticky note reading, “Delivered at 8:40 am on Thurs., 3/16. No explanation. Assuming it is for construction.”

Caspar Dowdy, Editor-in-chief

As the April 4 vote determining the sale of a zero-rate-change bond approaches, District 7 has had its eye set on improvement. Renovating old facilities, prioritizing safety, improving accessibility.

One of those projects would see 7,000 square feet added to EHS’s commons, an expansion marked as a “first priority” in the bond proposal.

“Many of our schools are aging and in need of critical improvements,” reads a letter from Dr. Patrick Shelton that was addressed to District 7 families on March 13. Some of the other projects, in addition to the commons expansion, include major renovations of Lincoln Middle School and asbestos remediation at Hamel Elementary School.

Whether the bond is approved or not, though, EHS will see one major change in the next few months. To accommodate the school population without having to send freshmen to the Nelson campus, seven classrooms will be built where the media center currently stands.

“Regardless of what happens with the referendum, this has already been planned,” Dr. Steve Stuart said. “The classrooms that are going to go into the media center are going to happen.”

To complete the project before the 2024 school year starts, construction is slated to begin at the start of May, but a definitive timeline is still being discussed as the district decides on bids and contractors.

Once more is known about the plans, those located in the media center — three classes, several offices, in-school solutions and a secretary — can get an idea of how to adjust to their rooms surrounding a construction zone for the last weeks of school.

“If they’re pulling carpet up, and maybe taking ceiling tiles and stuff like that, that’s not a big deal. That’s not going to interrupt class. That won’t be any louder than hearing the kids in the lunch room if you’re in Ms. Loesche’s class,” Dr. Stuart said. “If they’re firing up jackhammers, that’s another story.”

According to Dr. Stuart, bids for the project will be opened to the district over the next few weeks, with more concrete information to follow. Until then, he said he’s spoken with staff who will be affected by the changes about potentially moving, especially when it comes to equipment used by the podcasting and yearbook clubs.

“I don’t want to have something happen over the summer during construction where we come back and there’s thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment ruined because of dust and all of that,” he said. “I’ve told them, as soon as I get information and I know what the plan is, I’m going to give everyone a heads up, so if we have to move equipment and if we have to move classrooms, it’s not going to be the Friday before May 1, like ‘Oh, and by the way, you’re out.’”

While the construction will, in the short-term, require some classes to adapt, it could one day give students access to new resources. Once construction of the new classes is complete, the school will lack a media center for a time. In the April 4 district plan, one of the secondary-priority projects is the construction of a new media center at EHS.

English teacher Lindsay Loesche, whose glass-walled classroom is adjacent to the current media center, hopes that a new space could be an opportunity for students to find a comfortable place at school.

“I’m glad to see that we’re updating things. We definitely need more space if we’re going to be bringing in all the students into the building at the same time. I am excited to see updates, not just expansions,” she said. “It is a little bit sad that it’s the media center and it’s going away, my hope is that we get a bigger and better and more modern media center out of this. That’s the dream.”