Whitehall Junior/Senior High School has welcomed students back into their building for the first time since the devastating flood last Aug. 24. Students became acquainted with the new materials and got to see the borderline finished project.
The school was closed last fall because of the storm that ripped through Whitehall. The building was damaged to the point that the school district needed to replace flooring, had to tear down some walls, and acquire new equipment such as boilers.
The school has rounded the corner and is now in the final stages of repairs to the building. Whitehall school superintendent Patrick Dee said the expected date of completion is the start of the 2021 school year.
“Remaining interior work is the installation of the flooring in our Large Group Instruction Room and the auditorium,” he said.
Along with these repairs, the school still is waiting on cabinetry and a station for the science labs, completion of the gym and a roof replacement scheduled to happen during the summer. With these being the last things on the list, the school is looking to do an open house to the public when the project has been completed.
“There will also be much ‘site work’ to include grading portions of the exterior grounds, as well as elementary bus loop and parking lot reconfiguration,” he said.
Some of the newest additions to the school is better ventilation in the science labs as well as the art classrooms, new furniture for staff, new desks and rubber corkboards in classrooms and better air circulation in the building. Dee mentioned that will these updates, students will feel more at home at school.
“From a comfort standpoint, the new heating and airflow system, as well as windows, will make a big difference,” he said.
Dee stated his gratitude to staff and faculty for being patient with the changes to online learning as well as being adaptable to the rapid changes within the last year.
“Never before has education faced what it’s faced since COVID and then to pile on top the storm of August 24,” he said. “The challenges that came from that our teachers, our administrators, our building and grounds staff, custodian staff, bus drivers, cafeteria people, have just done incredible work and I couldn’t be prouder to say that I work with these people.”
The school board also discussed the need to contract a new elementary school nurse. During the meeting, the board spoke about contracting with Supplemental Health to bring in a temporary nurse. Dee mentioned that the contract would be for the extent of the remaining school year.
“We will revisit that probably when we get closer to the end of the school year and make a decision whether or not we want to try to increase the contract,” he said.
However, as of March 21, according to school business manager Kate DuBois, the school has found a member within the community to possibly fill the position.
Even though the school is contracted with a different company at the time, it is interested in what Supplemental Health has to offer for occupational, physical and speech therapists in future if needed.
- The senior class will be planning a spring dinner dance for the end of June on Lake George. More details are to come at the following meeting.
- The 2021-2022 school calendar was approved by the board. The fall semester will begin on Sept. 7 with a potential last day of June 24, 2022.