As many people may know, Jamesville-DeWitt High School has been under a great deal of construction this year. The Board of Education has decided to put the auditorium, large group room, bathrooms and even the ceilings and walls in the cafeterias under renovation. Having such frequently used areas under construction affected students in all grades.
Lots of students in the musical have had to deal with their practice and show space getting taken away from them. “I’m part of the musical, band, and chorus, so our concerts and shows couldn’t be at the auditorium. We have to go out of the district to preform,” says sophomore Kyra McDevitt. McDevitt isn’t the only one that has been affected by the construction this year. “I do the musical and had to move to the red house, so I’ve had to deal with some of that”, said junior Emma DeForest. Even freshman have something to say on the construction even though they haven’t gotten to experience going to school with the auditorium. “My chorus concert wasn’t in the auditorium, it was at Fayetteville Manlius”, said freshman Josh Aitken.
To get everything started, it takes about a year and a half from when the voters approve the original idea to when the workers start their job. The time between the first pitch and the idea approval, the school is finalizing the plans, getting contracts signed and sent away in order for the workers to come in and start. The construction isn’t over yet, though. “I’m making certain that the large cafeteria, small cafeteria and the large group room have really robust teaching stations for presentation. We want the microphone projection to work well even though we have had problems with that in the past,” said J-DHS principal, Paul Gasparini. “One problem with the large group room that we have had in the past is the ventilation system, the AC would kick on very loud and sometimes people couldn’t even hear because of the loudness of it. We are trying to abate those problems to make certain we have a really strong and effective presentation areas,” said Gasparini. Sometimes, the students who take classes near the auditorium are disrupted with the loud noises of the construction workers working on the stage and walls. In the beginning and middle of the year, Gasparini has mentioned during morning announcements that the auditorium was set to be finished around June, but certain problems are starting to develop and people are starting to get worried it may not be finished by then. “We had hoped to have the bathrooms by Dec 1, but what happens is politics are involved…right now tariffs are a big issue. It has a direct impact on when supplies are coming in, especially supplies from out of the country,” Gasparini explained.
According to Bloomberg, President Donald Trump is putting tariffs on goods being sent to the United States. In one white house statement, it is said that the increase of tariffs on $200 billion to 25 percent is off the table, for now, until further discussion. The negotiations will cover “structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture,” says Bloomberg.com.
Some students also have opinions on what they would like to fix about J-DHS construction wise. “I feel like the tiles around the corners and things are beat up and they should be fixed. Also, cleaning the girls bathroom and emptying the garbage cans in the girls bathroom is a necessity,” said freshman Natalie Goodson. “Repair the auxiliary gym because when you walk in, the walls, ceiling and the floor, make you go “oh, this place is old,”’ said Aitken. During the hotter days in the beginning and end of the school year, only the library, computer labs and math rooms have air conditioning. Students are forced to sit in a classroom with the windows open and doors closed. “We definitely need some AC in the school for the summer and spring,” said senior Fidel Martinez.
The construction around the school has been going on since the summer and should be done close to June. Although the students have their opinions about what should be fixed and what shouldn’t, they still like everything being done to make this environment a better place. “ I really like the new bathroom, the cafeteria looks really nice and I really love the auditorium,” said Deforest. “I like the idea of redoing the auditorium, but the amount of time it takes is really long,” McDevitt explained.
For the projects being done this school year, student government and scholar’s didn’t get any say in what was happening. In the future, Gasparini plans to fix that. “The Thought Exchange is a new thing [in which] you can voice your ideas on a number of things electronically. That’s a great way to do it,” said Gasparini. He also mentioned that you can talk to the student council reps or our school wide presidents, Seniors Ana Dieroff and Martinez. They are going to start a suggestion box where you can anonymously write down what you want to see done here at J-DHS. The box will be held in the counseling center.