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Updates on renovations

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Updates on renovations

The plan for the future renovations coming to DGS within the next few years.

The plan for the future renovations coming to DGS within the next few years.

The plan for the future renovations coming to DGS within the next few years.

The plan for the future renovations coming to DGS within the next few years.

On March 20, 2018 the surrounding areas voted “yes” for District 99 to undergo renovations collectively known as the Master Facility Plan which will directly affect the student learning environment. With this vote come construction and temporary learning spaces with the end hope of having better areas for our students. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2019 with an estimated finish time at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Most of the renovations will be occurring on the first floor with some new outdoor features. Students can look forward to collaborative seating in the classrooms, an updated auditorium with better access to the stage and updated culinary classrooms. With these new renovations, students will be able to learn in new classrooms that are fit for group work and collaborative learning.

Throughout the day students are asked to get into groups in various classes, which then leads to the moving of desks, chairs and backpacks. With these collaborative workspaces in the renovation plan, it is going to help students be able to move into groups a lot quicker and without the hassle of having to move everything. Social studies teacher Jordan Delay thinks that the idea of getting collaborative workspaces is going to be a benefit to the school.

“I think anytime you have an opportunity to create more collaborate spaces for the students is a benefit and the increase in providing an atmosphere in the classroom that is also focused on collaborative learning whether that is the furniture there, I think that is a benefit,” Delay said.

Collaborative learning spaces aren’t the only things that students will be able to take advantage of once the renovations are over. With DGS putting in an updated auditorium, it allows for more space to be in the facility, which is a bonus with how many students attend DGS. There is also a plan for the stairs leading up to the stage to be removed, allowing for ramps to be built to accommodate everyone’s physical needs.

Construction during the renovation poses learning distractions to all of the classrooms. Since the class of 2022 will be here for most of the renovation throughout their four years at DGS, freshman Hannah Martin opens up about how she feels the renovation will impact her learning environment.

“I feel like I will be more distracted and will have a hard time trying to learn [due to the construction], and it won’t be as quiet as a [normal learning] environment,” Martin said.

School principal Edward Schwartz still feels confident that students are going to be able to learn well even while construction is underway.

“It’s all going to come down to how we sequence how everything gets done and when. I think we are going to have to create some of the new spaces to move people out of the places that we are going to renovate and then use flex spaces to move people in and out. I think it is all going to come down to timing it right, and then quite frankly people are going to have to be understanding and flexible [of the construction],” Schwartz said.

Construction is not the only possible issue that is coming with the renovations. When the referendum was passed, taxpayers agreed to a tax increase. While the surrounding areas will end up paying more money, Schwartz strongly believes that the increase will be well worth it.

“I believe that the number was for a three hundred thousand house that the average increase was like $63 or something like that so that is what the tax increase would be for all the residents of the district. I think that it is definitely worth it after seeing the plans and what we would be getting over the next few years,” Schwartz said.

While $63 may not seem like a lot, it is going to be able to provide updated, modern workspaces for the DGS students to use. Even though there will be many renovations, some still wish that more would be undertaken. Junior Brenna Cohoon wishes for some renovations to be done to the field house, which isn’t included in the plan.

“I think there could be some updates made to the field house because as a athlete who utilizes the field house during the indoor track season, sometimes there are things that were not able to fully complete. There is not a whole lot of space between the field events and the runners because the pits and the areas where they throw are really close to the track so sometimes people are getting in each other’s ways and it can get a little hectic,” Cohoon said.

Schwartz is aware that not everything in the school is being renovated but says that it is hard to find the time and the finances to complete a full school renovation.

“There’s lots of stuff [that I wish were in the renovations] — a lot of small classroom repairs and things that we do ourselves overtime but it would be great to just have enough money to do everything all at once. I know that’s not realistic and it wouldn’t be fair to ask the taxpayers to pay more for everything.” Schwartz said.

If you would like more information about the school renovation before construction begins in the Spring of 2019, please attend the Q&A session that will be taking place on Oct. 17 from 7-9 pm at DGN.

 

Read more about Dr. Thiele’s presentation to the community (Click Here).

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