|By Carley Dangona
The new West Springfield High School is under construction and is scheduled to open Feb. 25, 2014. A corner vision panel place in a teacher’s workroom provides a sense of security for students and enables teachers to be readily available.
Reminder Publications photos by Carley Danogna
WEST SPRINGFIELD – The construction of the new West Springfield High School is on schedule to open on Feb. 25, 2014.
This fall, the School Department will offer nostalgic tours of the current high school, which will be torn down and replaced with athletic fields. Reminder Publications toured the new high school with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Russell Johnston on Sept. 30.
“This building will house the entire student body without concern,” Johnston said. He added that the use of the building is designed to be “flexible.” Typically, 85 percent of the building is in use every day, but that percentage could be expanded if the student population increases.
Johnston explained that the School Department had initially requested a renovation of the 60-year-old high school, but the state wouldn’t fund the project. The Commonwealth supplied the funding for the construction of the $107.1 million building that is a redesign of a model school in Hudson.
Five-sided classrooms and trapezoid-shaped desks will provide the opportunity for all students to feel engaged and provide versatility for teachers to create multiple learning areas within one room.
“Every classroom will have an interactive whiteboard that can connect to digital media,” Johnston stated. He said that all teachers would be give convertible laptops – that can function as a tablet or laptop – to be able to control the boards from any point in the room. This mobility enables teachers to better interact with students, rather than remaining stationed at the front of the room.
A miniature theater for drama students will also provide a community meeting space and will occasionally serve as a lecture hall to acclimate students to a college-like atmosphere.
The gymnasium will feature three side courts and one main court that can be sectioned off into three segments. The gym will also have an indoor, upper level walking track. The 13-foot deep, 16-lane pool will have its own entrance.
Johnston stressed that the main themes of the design are safety, security, functionality and efficiency. The alternative school will continue to operate as part of the high school, but will have its own locking entrance and driveway.
“The new school provides a lot of opportunity for our students,” Johnston said.
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