Medina Journal-Register — The movement that is underway in the Medina Central School District is a major undertaking.
At Oak Orchard Elementary School, every teacher’s classroom at the end of this past school year is not the one in which they will teach next year. Wise Middle School is splitting into two wings and two schedules. The High School adds a grade. Towne School is nearly completely packed up, with storage of surplus equipment the building’s new role.
That sea change requires a summer of turnover in the school’s physical classroom assets, but Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Tim Ames says the plan crafted by building principals and prepared by teachers and custodial staff will swiftly shift the district to its new layout.
”We’ve done our homework,” Ames said, holding up a laminated diagram of the classroom assignments for Oak Orchard. He compared the effort to the planning that firefighters make before entering a house fire. “A lot of that work is coordination. Everything is clockwork if you stick to the plan.”
Ames said the classroom moves at Oak Orchard and Wise will take about two weeks of work by a group of teens hired by the district. Today’s plan has them moving the district’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms into the rooms that last held third-grade classes; those rooms were cleaned by custodial staff Thursday.
Oak Orchard will hold pre-kindergarten through third grade classes in the new configuration, with the two youngest grades in classrooms equipped with bathrooms and low shelves — a major cost avoidance — and the two older grades in the building’s second-story wing. That plan to determine who will go where started taking shape in January and only ended Monday.
“People were nervous until we looked at the maps and found we could lay it out the right way,” Ames said.
The final classroom placement kept shifting with teacher’s corrections on Ames’ homework, which he ended with the lamination of the plans. “The rough draft’s names kept getting crossed off,” Ames said.
The finality is due to the precise nature of the move. Each teacher’s supplies and furniture are marked to go into their new classrooms. The movement has been done one room at a time to ensure the least chance of lost equipment, Ames said.
Wise is being set up with fourth- and fifth-grade classes arranged near the cafeteria and auditorium; sixth- and seventh-grade classes will enter through a different entrance and largely be segregated due to those grades’ bell schedule and independent movement of students between subjects. Ames said the school is trying to eliminate the bells that are currently where the younger classrooms will be located.
The work is being done in addition to the groundswork improvements and fixes to the school’s phone and access card systems. The installation of about two dozen interactive whiteboards has been contracted out, but district workers are preparing the wiring.
One major project that is happening outside of the building switches is the creation of a new parking area next to the bus circle at Oak Orchard. Work on that project is scheduled to begin today. The teen moving crew made sure that everything that had to be moved out of the loading dock area at Oak Orchard was done ahead of the parking lot project’s commencement.
Ames said he hopes the lot is in place for the start of school.
“That work will take off soon,” Ames said. “We’re hoping for good weather.”
Across campus, the High School adds eighth grade classes, a move that will be done around the summer school courses that begin July 9. The hosting of canal bicyclists the weekend after Independence Day at Wise necessitated other logistical issues.
As for Towne School, Ames said the building’s physical status won’t falter despite it no longer hosting student education. Maintenance and mowing will continue.
“My job is to protect the investments made by the school district,” Ames said.
The Bates Road school’s playground will remain intact. Ames estimated that shifting the school’s playground assets would take up another summer of labor, and new regulations for playgrounds, which are grandfathered into old regulations when a play area is laid, would force additional changes.Contact reporter Jim Krencikat 798-1400, ext. 6327.