CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield Area High School has passed its temporary occupancy inspection, and school will begin as scheduled on Wednesday, according to Superintendent Terry Struble.
The school also passed its elevator inspection yesterday. And, the state’s Department of Health has approved for the kitchen areas to be used despite the need for final installation and cleaning, he said.
The Clearfield school board is currently in the process of consolidating its students into two buildings. The high school is undergoing a $36 million renovation and expansion project and will become a campus for grades seven through twelve next year.
The board is also in the process of consolidating kindergarten through grades six into the Clearfield Elementary School. The CES is undergoing a $10.6 million renovation and expansion project, which is in its infancy.
According to Struble, the high school is a 10-phase renovation and expansion project. He said the first eight phases have been completed, with exception to phases two and six, which are ongoing. He said once school begins, they will evolve into the final two stages.
He said the district’s central administrative offices relocated to the high school campus in July. He meets with the high school principals and the district’s maintenance director regularly to touch base on the status of the project and to make future plans and a number of alternatives.
Struble said all students will enter the high school through a security vestibule at the front of the building. The school’s offices for the principals, guidance counselors and nurse are clustered inside the front entrance of the building.
Any parent or visitor to the main office areas must pass through the security vestibule and be buzzed in twice. These individuals will not have access to the remainder of the building given the new layout of the high school office area, he said.
The principals’ offices have been refurbished and hopefully will be completed for the start of school, he said. However, they have alternative locations for the principals to work from for the first few days if the new offices aren’t completed on time.
Struble said the classrooms have new tile floors and fresh paint, and some have been equipped with marker boards. He said the marker boards are being installed first in the classrooms of teachers who indicated they used them.
The classroom areas on the second and third floors are mostly complete, according to Struble. He said they have “punch list items” still to be done and will not have access to the third-floor science wing until October or November.
According to him, the students will have all brand-new locker spaces and restroom areas. He said they hope to have ceiling tiles installed for the start of school, but this isn’t required for them to meet the temporary occupancy inspection. The school, he said, will be completely air-conditioned in the spring.
He said as of right now, the school doesn’t have specific grade areas and operates by department. On Wednesday he said the ninth graders should report to their first period class and be attentive to its location on the map provided with their student schedule.
After enrollment and locker assignments, he said ninth graders will have a class meeting and orientation period, and will also be given a tour of the school. He said for returning students, the building’s layout hasn’t changed, but they should be attentive to the room numbers on the map, because they have changed.
The library area will eventually be divided, so that the junior high has a distinct area a part from that of the senior high. The library renovations include four, new projector screens, computer work stations and reading areas for students. Library support staff and students will put the library back together and case the books in the coming weeks, he said.
“Students will not be able to check out books for a couple of weeks,” said Struble. “In the spring, the library staff will have to go through the middle school collection and see what’s appropriate to bring up for the seventh and eighth grade students.”
The school’s cafeteria features a mostly brand-new kitchen and serving area that’s set up similar to a food court. It will eventually have five service stations with offerings such as, hoagie sandwiches, grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, pizza and other typical menu items, said Struble.
He said the kitchen staff will be in Tuesday for training, and they will start off with one or two food service stations. He said as the cafeteria staff and students become familiarized with the new food court setup, they will phase in the other service stations.
“There’s a lot more options that the students didn’t have before,” said Struble. “I think it will increase the students’ participation in our school’s cafeteria program.”
He said the new cafeteria will seat 380 to 400 students. This year the school will have two lunch periods for grades nine through twelve. It will add a lunch period next year with the seventh and eighth grade students coming up from the middle school, he said.
According to him, the current Arthur J. Weiss Sr. Gymnasium hasn’t changed. He said it will be completely renovated once the school’s new gymnasium is completed in October or November. He said the school has been designed with an entrance off the central hallway that will bring spectators into the gymnasium and cafeteria area but will keep them from accessing the other areas of the school.
Struble said it’s important that the school has two gymnasiums, as it will allow them to schedule multiple practices and varsity events on the same nights. In addition, he said it will make the school an option to host playoff basketball games and post-season wrestling tournaments.
He said on Wednesday the school will hold meetings with each grade level, and the staff will utilize the first three days to adjust. He said they’ll take advantage of the long weekend for Labor Day to make tweaks and to help get the classrooms in full gear.
This year he said the high school will house 700 to 800 students in grades nine through twelve. He said next year it will house approximately 1,100 students with the incorporation of the seventh and eighth grades at the high school campus.
Once a junior-senior high campus, Struble said students who are in grades nine through twelve will be spread throughout the school. He said the junior high students will have their own area but will have shared spaces with the older students, such as the cafeteria, library, etc.
The high school project was originally planned to be completed by April of 2014, said Struble. He said once school begins next week, the district and school administrators will evaluate the status of the renovation and expansion project and fill in the rest of the timeline.