Students to see changes upon going back to school

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/26/97.

With the start of the new school year next week, students will visually see very few changes in the buildings or staff.

John Janotta, high school principal, said the only big visible changes are outside on the athletic field. The school has a new scoreboard and concession stand. The new scoreboard was purchased with funds from the student activity fund, district general fund, and Viking Coke. "It has the same basic features as the old scoreboard but is also capable of doing track scoring," Janotta said.

The new concession stand is about the size of a double garage. It has four windows facing the athletic fields from which volunteers can serve refresh-ments. The backside will be used for storage.

Another outside change is that the old tower/concession stand was moved back and the bleachers were pulled together in front of the tower. This will basically give everybody seating on the 50-yard line. Someday, the district hopes to purchase another set of bleachers for the area.

Inside, the boys and girls bathrooms were updated and remodeled as well as the locker rooms, various rooms were painted and tiling was repaired in the hallway.

The invisible improvement taking place is located above the students heads, in the ceiling. The entire school district is in the process of being wired for the Internet and video imaging this summer.

"Once the networking is completed, staff people will be able to talk to each other via their computers," Danith Clausen, curriculum coordinator, said.

Workers are in the process of running fiber optic lines throughout the buildings, eventually linking the high school with the elementary school and middle school. "We hope the network will be up and running by early October," Clausen aid. "This will also enable students in every classroom from preschool through 12th grade to have access to the Internet. Each office will have Internet hookup as well as the media center, cafeteria and gym."

The hookups in the gym and cafeteria will allow teachers to pull computer generated entertainment programs off the Internet and project them onto large screens for student viewing.

At present, the district has a video system, but it is only a one-way system, receiving. The district is upgrading the video system so it can send and receive. Students will be able to broadcast programs from one classroom to another and even from one building to another. High school students will be able to interact with students in the elementary building. For example, a high school student will be able to read a book to the preschool students and ask them questions about the book, see the preschoolers on the screen and talk with them, one on one.

"The cabling will be there for the video program, but we won't have the equipment to utilize the network this year," Clausen said.

In the middle school, carpet was replaced due to water damage during the July rains and miscellaneous areas were painted. "Everything will appear pretty routine here on the first day of school," Deb Gillman, middle school principal, said.

In the elementary school, two teachers have changed grade levels. Joyce Anderson has moved from the fifth grade to teach in the first grade this year and Cheryl Colbert has moved from second grade up to fourth grade.

Visible changes at the elementary include a large section of new sidewalk in front of the school and new carpeting in a few rooms," Gary Heineman, elementary principal, said.

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