Working out the kinks

A few days into the operating life of the newly constructed Williamsport Area Middle School, the staff and students still are working out a few kinks. But all agree that it’s filled with numerous resources that will equate to an improved learning environment for the district’s seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Procedures such as how students arrive in the morning, eat lunch and exit after the school day all needed to be worked out, but Brandon Pardoe, middle school principal, said it’s gone as smooth as could be expected when opening up a new school building.

“All of that’s been a learning experience,” Pardoe said. “When you’re planning for it (in the summer), you have no one in the building. You try to plan for everything.”

It didn’t take long for things to work themselves out though, as Pardoe reported that everyone has worked to make each day better.

The middle school, formerly Roosevelt Middle School, saw not only the existing 60,000 square feet renovated but an additional 101,880 square feet added to house its 840 students.

Updates include a new gymnasium, an elevator and new technology.

Core subject classrooms – mathematics, language arts, social studies and science – are set up with interactive white boards.

Two new computer labs are available to students, as well as Wi-Fi throughout the building.

A fitness center, complete with treadmills and weight machines, will be up and running in the next week, Pardoe reported. The facility will be utilized by both sports teams and physical education classes.

Although the new library isn’t ready for use yet, as books still are being put on shelves. Pardoe said it should be opened by October. Until then, books are available to be delivered to classrooms.

But students won’t only have indoor space, as a courtyard will allow them to do a variety of activities outdoors.

“They’ll be able to go out there to read or do other things along those lines,” Pardoe said.

Students are enjoying the new building.

“I like it a lot,” said Ty Segraves, an eighth-grade student. “I like how there’s so many windows.”

Mackenzie Levano, an eighth-grade student, said her favorite part is that there’s “a lot more room.”

Both said they were working on figuring out the best routes to classes. Levano described the new building as “a big maze.”

“It’s really big,” Segraves added.

Pardoe said there are 85 security cameras both in and outside the building “to create a safe learning environment.”

And despite there still being work performed on sections of the building and property, Pardoe said the building is operating well.

“We continue to have construction going on but we function just fine,” he said.

Pardoe said everyone is working well together, including staff with construction management, saying “it’s been a lot of people with different things and different roles.”

He added that there’s a lot of “pride” in the building from both students and staff. And he hopes the building will be fully completed soon.

“We hope to have everything wrapped up in the next two months,” he said.