Lake Local Schools will host a ribbon-cutting and tour of the newly expanded and remodeled school at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
HARTVILLE It's been four years of planning, packed hallways and portable toilets, but the newly renovated Lake Middle High School is ready for showtime.
Lake Local Schools will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the newly expanded and remodeled school at 5:30 p.m. Monday, starting at the new main entrance at 709 Market Ave. SW by the Lake Community Branch Library.
The renovation is part of $93 million, district-wide facilities project that consolidated the district's five schools into three. The project included the demolition of three schools, including the former middle school, and the construction of a new Lake Elementary for grades 2-6.
The facilities project was funded in part by a $34.6 million, 36-year bond issue and two operating levies approved by voters in May 2015.
Lake Middle High School will house grades 7-12. The school year begins Tuesday. Crews will be putting the finishing touches on some areas of the building when classes begin, but the building is fully ready to start the school year.
"It's just like a whole new building for us this year," said Principal Dan Harold. "We're fortunate because we have the community and the people around to make it happen."
Here's a preview of what to expect:
Lots of collaborative spaces
Gone are the days of single desks in a row facing a teacher.
Schools today need flexible spaces with flexible furniture and the ability to integrate with technology, said Superintendent Kevin Tobin.
"That gives us the ability to really change the paradigm on teaching, from teacher-directed teaching to student-centered learning with the teacher more of a facilitator rather than the 'sage on the stage,'" he said.
Some classrooms are equipped with garage doors that can open into extended learning areas in the hallway -- spaces with couches, chairs, tables and whiteboards -- where students can work in smaller groups.
Other classrooms have garage doors between them to allow co-teaching. The school worked to coordinate class schedules so geometry classes, for example, can combine forces, Harold said.
Hallways are filled with areas for studying, reading or collaborating.
It's not uncommon to find students scattered throughout the halls sharing textbooks or typing away on laptops, he said.
"If you get parents who've never been in here before or are new to the district, it's kind of an eye-opener," he said. "If you walk down the hall during a typical school day, it's really cool. You have kids taking ownership of their learning ... you have teachers working together, kids working together. It's a great collaborative environment."
Classroom remodels include a newly-designed career health classroom with space for a hands-on lab. Plans also called for renovated music and arts spaces.
The school is equipped for one-to-one computing and classrooms have complete integrated technology, Tobin said.
Classrooms are outfitted with interactive white boards that allow up to 10 students at a time to use a touchscreen. It's a modern version of writing on the chalkboard.
Classrooms also have a 75-inch screen with the ability for teachers and students to display their laptop screens for the class to see, he said.
Students have assigned laptops that can be taken home. And the school is filled with outlets to keep them charged.
The garage doors are also white boards. As is a large hallway-sized screen on the second floor above the "collaboration staircase," an auditorium-type area that connects the first and second floors. The staircase has a display of multiple flat screens that can run individually or in-sync.
The school has new energy-efficient features and is climate controlled, with the exception of the main gym, Tobin said.
Students will take athletic classes, or complete in middle school and some varsity sports, in a new 450-seat auxiliary gymnasium compete with new locker rooms.
Varsity basketball and other sports and events will remain in the current competition gym.
The renovation includes a new concession stand. During the school day, it will operate as the Lightning Cafe, a coffee shop run by students in the marketing and business management career tech program. The cafe was operating out of a temporary space. The concession stand offers a permanent home that is central to students and faculty, Harold said.
The renovation added about 120,000 square-feet of new space. That includes a classroom addition, plus a new office and entrance area. The new main entrance is off Market Avenue, by the Lake Community Branch Library.
The school is designed so seventh- and eighth-grade students will generally have classes on a different floor than those in high school, but the school isn't afraid of some crossover, Harold said.
"We're not in a hurry to make sure that they don't have any contact with the older kids," he said. "We kind of like having our older kids mentoring them."
Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jholbrookREP