School Comments By Supt. Robert Mayer In last week's "School Comments" readers were informed about the scope and history of the high school expansion project. In this column information on the need for the project will be provided.
One of the proposed additions is the high school library. Expanding the library into the adjacent commons will provide the necessary space to accommodate more students and more technology. The current library is limited to space to accommodate the number of students who use the library at any given time. The computer is a valuable research tool and research is a major function of the library. More space for these computers is needed.
The library must also accommodate persons with disabilities. This is a problem with the existing facility. Expansion will allow for a ramp or some other form of accessibility.
Expansion of the library into the commons creates a need for a new commons/dining area and kitchen. The project allows for this construction in the northeast portion of the building.
The third segment of the proposed building project involves a fine arts facility which would be an auditorium that seats 750 people. This facility would be used to house all the district's music concerts K-12 and the drama productions. School assemblies and a variety of other programs would be held in the new facility. Furthermore, the auditorium and commons area would be available to the community for use.
There has never been a facility for the fine arts in the Vermillion School District. One of our goals is to place an increased emphasis upon the performing arts. We need to begin with a facility where the music and drama programs can perform. The auditorium comes complete with a sound system, stage lighting, and other necessary equipment.
The final portion of the expansion project is an auxiliary gym to be used for practice. The current high school gym is adequate for athletic performances. This facility, however, was constructed in 1965 with boys basketball as the only sport. Shortly thereafter wrestling was introduced.
Today in 1999 volleyball and gymnastics also compete for space in the gym. It is not possible for all four sports to use one facility for practice. The wrestling team practices on the east balcony. Gymnastics practices off campus. All four sports use the existing gym for their interscholastic competition.
Basketball and volleyball use the gym for practices as well as competitions. There are three basketball and three volleyball teams that must schedule times for practice. Due to the fact that the gym is used three to four nights a week, practices are held regularly at 6 a.m. from late November to late February. This situation is not conducive to good academic performance.
The proposed expansion would provide practice space for wrestling and gymnastics. These areas would also be used for physical education and community use. A gymnasium floor, the size of the current gym, would be constructed for volleyball and basketball practices which would eliminate the 6 a.m. practice time.
The school board believes that this expansion project will solve the district's facility needs for many years. No additional facility construction is expected for several years.