Monday, April 25, 2016

Elementary School Construction Update - April 25, 2016

Posted by Wayne Anderson in General  |  Post a comment

I am a James Bond 007 fan and like most fans, as the next film is about to be released I wait with unbridled anticipation. This is the same feeling that I get as the new elementary school is nearing its completion. If you have not been watching the building’s progress through the photos posted on our district’s webpage, I strongly encourage you to do so. Now as I walk through the building, I can get a true sense about what each area will look like once it is completed.

As you enter the new elementary school, you will go under a canopy made up of strong wooden beams and a metal roof. This entrance not only looks nice, but it affords a protection from the elements as you enter and exit the building. Once you enter the main entrance, you will need to be admitted into the office area by one of the school personnel. This is very similar to how you now have to enter the Middle/High School during the regular school day. Once inside the office, you will exit the office area into the main entrance way foyer. As you look west towards the new commons area, you will see the Vision Wall. The Vision Wall will have a picture depicting students viewing Geneva Lake. As you are in the foyer area and look towards the gymnasium, you will see the History Wall. This wall will have photographs that depict the history of the Williams Bay School District and community. On the soffit above the wall, terracotta pieces from the exterior of the building will be display, such as the piece directly above the front entrance that shows the current Elementary School was built in 1916. It will also have a large flat screen television in the center of the wall. This screen will allow individuals to bring up two-dimensional images that deal with the history of the Williams Bay School District and community.

As you turn north, you will be heading in the student wing that holds our Four-Year-Old Kindergarten, Five-Year-Old Kindergarten and First grade students. These classrooms are approximately 1,000 square feet each and are equipped with their own restrooms and coat lockers. Each classroom has windows facing the exterior of the building and also windows that face into the hallway. The hallway is wider than your typical hallway and can be used as additional classroom and student work space; such as having students read to an adult volunteer. The hallway has an upper row of outside windows that allows eastern sunlight to enter the building.

The western classroom wing has the second and third grade classrooms on the first floor and the fourth and fifth grade classrooms on the second floor. Each of these classrooms is about 850 square feet and most are in the shape of a boot. They also have a bank of exterior and interior windows that face into the hallway. All of our classrooms have a technology wall that contains an ActivPanel monitor and document camera. Each classroom also has the traditional white board and tag boards. The common hallways in both of these areas are larger than the hallways in the Kindergarten/First Grade hallway because the student lockers are located in the middle of the hallways. These hallways are designed to allow teachers to bring their classes into this area for combined learning assignments and are furnished with furniture that supports collaborative learning groups. Though these classrooms do not have individual restrooms, each hallway has a large student restroom.

On the second floor, you will also find two large learning areas; one is the elementary art room and the other is the library. Both of these learning areas are large rooms that are filled with outdoor light. I think they will be areas that students and staff will truly enjoy spending time in during the day. The music classrooms are located in the current Middle/High School. Once school is let out for the year, the music wing will be remodeled to create a larger band room, and separate choral classrooms for the elementary and Middle/High School students.

The commons or cafeteria area is a large space that can accommodate over 200 students. One side of the commons area will be decorated with the wooden gym bleacher boards and the other side will be filled with a bank of windows. The bleacher boards will be taken off the Elementary School gym bleachers and be reused as a decorative piece in the cafeteria. We felt this was one way to incorporate part of the old school building into the new school.

The last two areas I would like to mention are the fitness center and the gymnasium. The fitness center will be fully equipped with both cardiovascular and weight lifting equipment that will be available to staff, students and the community. The fitness center has its own exterior entrance so that it can be separated from the rest of the elementary school. The fitness center has a full row of exterior windows that will allow individuals using the cardiovascular equipment to look outside and a row of interior windows that will allow our gym teachers to supervise students in both the fitness center and the gymnasium at the same time. The district has built two small locker rooms next to the fitness center so that community individuals have a place to change and shower after their workouts. The gymnasium will be slightly larger than the gymnasium at the Middle/High School. The bleacher seating capacity is 800 and the seating capacity on the floor is roughly 700; so we should be able to accommodate up to 1,500 individuals for any of our major performances. At one end of the gymnasium is a stage with a retractable wall and curtain. This stage area has separate rooms for equipment storage. The stage also is equipped with a large screen that can be electronically lowered.

I am sure that when you have the chance to enter the building this fall, you will be thoroughly impressed by how well the building is laid out for our students, staff and community. I look forward to showing you the new building in the future. As always thank you for your support – without you none of this would have been possible.

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