oAs the first day of school approaches, all hands are on deck to finish up the construction and have classrooms ready on time. The main entry to the school will now be through these doors leading to the lobby next to the gym. Photo: Steve Foley
As I entered the school late this morning, it was almost overwhelming with the amount of activity taking place. After a couple of inquiries I was able to find Mrs. Parenteau, the school secretary, who had a small desk set up in the middle of a Classroom with her computer on it. She was on the phone, which was placed on a stack of boxes behind her desk, piled high enough that she could comfortably use the phone standing up. It is the 3rd or 4th location she has worked from since the construction began in the spring. In her usual cheerful manner she stated that “As long as I can have my computer and a phone, I can work most anywhere!” All around were boxes, desks and other school equipment and supplies waiting to be moved to where they belong.
I was soon joined by school principal, Jane Slayton, who took time to show me around, even though it was obvious that she had better things to do! As we walked along, I noticed that every classroom I saw was piled with desks, boxes and equipment waiting to be moved to where it belonged.
In amongst the dozens of construction workers, electricians, plumbers and other workers, AE/MS Staff members were busy doing the best they could to get their classrooms into some sort of order, while working around the things that were in temporary storage in their rooms. A kindergarten teacher was busy in her room, which is in the lower level of the new addition on the East side of the building. When asked how she likes her new classroom, she stated that it is hard to express how grateful she is to have such a great space. One advantage her new room has is a restroom right in the classroom. She explained that it will be easy to create a great learning environment in the new space.
On the upper level of the new addition are classrooms and a cafeteria. The rooms of the upper level have skylights that brighten with natural light the area of the room away from the windows on the exterior walls that go all the way to the ceiling.
The cafeteria is a spacious area that will provide a comfortable area for students to have lunch. Previously, tables were set up on the stage. Now the stage will be open and available for its intended use.
The main entrance to the school has been relocated. To enter the school and access the administrative offices, one must now enter through the doors that open into the lobby next to the gym. The secretary and principal’s offices are located just to the right as you enter the lobby. The entry doors have been upgraded for student safety.
With only a few days left before students return, it looked to me that it would be impossible to have things ready on time. On the other hand, after walking through the school and seeing the level of activity and effort by the construction crews and the staff of AE/MS, they just might be able to do it. I don’t think the Labor Day weekend will be a vacation for any of them this year!