(Superintendent Traci Davis visited repairs, renovations, and new school sites throughout the summer. This is her story)
With school out I got the chance to check on some work that I don’t normally get to see first-hand: the new construction and repair work at our buildings made possible by WC-1’s passage last November. I brought some of our communications staff along so that we could show you what we saw – there are a number of videos up on our Facebook page as well as on this website, which was created to show all of this work. I had a lot of fun making these videos, but it was more fun to see the work in progress.
A brief recap of my visits:
I got to see for myself where the District is buying land for one of our new middle schools, in Spanish Springs. I talked with Adam Searcy, our Deputy Facilities Management Officer, about how the process is going, timelines, challenges, and more. We’re moving full speed ahead to have this school open in August 2019! This site is actually just down the street from my house, and I know my neighbors’ children will be excited to have a new middle school so close by. I also got to meet with the community in Sun Valley, where COO Pete Etchart and I presented at a townhall regarding the new middle school we are planning to build in Sun Valley, which will be the same design (and updated Depoali Middle School model) and open at the same time as the one in Spanish Springs. The townhall had a huge attendance; it was great to speak with so many community members who are extremely excited about their new middle school.
The rest of my visits were all about repairs. I visited Gomes Elementary School to see the more than $1 million-worth of repair work going on there. Unfortunately, due to a number of uncontrollable circumstances, that project got slightly delayed and therefore so did the start of classes. But when classes start back up there will be a brand new air conditioning system at the school. On my visit I got to see a crane lifting the old rooftop evaporative coolers off of the roof, and speak with Tony McMillen, WCSD’s Director of Construction.
I visited Wooster, where a brand new boiler system was being put in. Tony McMillen met me there as well, and we also spoke with Wooster Principal Leah Keuscher, who is excited to be able to focus more on education in her building, and worry less about the imminent possibility of the heat going out in winter. This same project is happening at Dilworth STEM Academy, as well.
On another visit, I got to see a roof replacement project at Verdi Elementary School. Up on the roof, I spoke with Jamey Linker, who works for the contractor on the project. Jamey told us about the project, his love of fishing, and his wife, Shannon, who works for the District at Diedrichsen Elementary School! I also was joined on the roof by Joe Gabica, our Chief Facilities Management Officer, who told me all about the history of the school and so much more – Joe’s nickname is “Encyclopedia Gabica.” How he not only knows but also remembers every little detail of every building is truly impressive. On the ground, we were joined by WCSD Board of Trustees President Dr. Angie Taylor. She came out to see the repairs in progress, and was so excited to see projects made possible by WC-1 in action, fixing up an older school in her district.
My final visit was to McQueen High School, and I was happy to have President Taylor join us for this visit as well. At McQueen, we saw flooring being replaced, about 44,000 square feet of it! This was one of my favorite visits. Not only did I get to show President Taylor more significant repairs in progress, but we also got to speak with an incoming freshman, his dad, and several teachers. It was really gratifying to see their excitement about the community’s investment in their school, and we just had fun – you have to watch the video (or use this link to watch if you don’t have Facebook).
I wish I had time to visit every project going on this summer, but there are so many, which is a good thing! In all we had over $20 million in repairs and renovations approved and ready to go for this year, the majority of that happening over summer. We are so appreciative of the community’s investment in our schools, through WC-1, that made this possible. Be sure to look around this website for information on all these projects, the new schools we’re building, and the $20 million in repairs we have planned for next year.