Notice anything different? Overdue building renovations finally underway

Wet floor caution signs
Wet floor caution signs
Denise Penn

If you’ve walked around the building recently, you might have noticed some changes. Since spring break, Bethel has been undergoing some much needed renovations. The goal of these renovations is to improve the Academy experience, and all construction should be completed before the 2024-25 school year begins.

Teacher workroom, the site of the new Mad Lab, before renovations. (Kaela Jordan)

For the majority, ongoing construction has not had an impact on day-to-day life, but a few students and staff are feeling the effects. Some classes have been moved, and the extra space in the lunchroom has been walled off. Additionally, the old teachers lounge on the 400 hall has been closed; one copier was moved to the staff break room, while the other took over the math faculty space.

“We are modifying a couple of rooms to outfit for spaces for the Media Arts & Design Academy [and the] Academy of Law and Public Safety,” Mr. Oliver, Assistant Principal, shared. “One of the rooms is being converted into a simulator room; that’s a different experience for the Academy of Law and Public Safety … they’re going to have newer simulators.”  

Such updates and changes will bring students more hands-on experience in their respective careerspathways. The ALPS simulator lab will be on the gym hall, while all MAD classrooms are being moved into the 400 hallway. In fact, the old teacher workroom is now being converted into a cutting edge Media Lab.

Wall was removed in old Teacher workroom to begin converting it into the new MAD Lab. (LB)

“The MAD classroom, we’re actually moving it,” Mr. Oliver stated. “They’re making the adjustment to the room so we’ll be able to have the things we need to have to spring forward MAD to the 21st century technology wise.”

While changes are ongoing, students and teachers should prepare for potential disruptions. Students, who are near where construction is happening, may hear noises. In fact, teachers were sent a memo to help them address any student concerns that might arise due to construction volume.

“We did plan for those trying to make those modifications so that students’ learning experiences won’t be adversely affected,” Mr. Oliver shared.

These ongoing renovations are following closely on the heels of some recent emergency repairs. In early March, it rained heavily, which caused leaks to appear throughout the building. These leaks disrupted classes and created hazardous puddles in hallways.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
Navigate Left
Navigate Right

“I felt as though it wasn’t a safe conducive environment for the students,” Ms. Powell, a math teacher, stated. During the storm, she had to bring extra trash cans into her classroom to catch the falling water from the ceiling. “I felt that we were dodging raindrops in the classroom.” 

“I think it was very nasty and unsafe,” Scarlett Coronado, a Junior, voiced an opinion shared by many students.

I felt as though it wasn’t a safe, conducive environment for the students.

— Ms. Powell

Over spring break, maintenance worked to plug leaks and replace ceiling tiles exhibiting water damage. 

“They were in the building,” Mr. Oliver explained. “They were on the roofs patching up the different places. It’s an older school, built on a swamp, so there are going to be some issues at times, but once we put in the request, they got over and started working […]; they worked over the entire break.”

Some of the ruined tiles have indeed been replaced, but a quick trip down certain hallways and rooms will attest that more work still needs to be done. Students are wondering if basic building concerns are being overlooked in favor of Academy expansion.

When students return in the fall, it will to a more modern version of Bethel, and the hope is that the district will prioritize student safety and needs in the years to come.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Bethel High School Bear Facts News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *