New school design causes some concerns
WHITEHOUSE, OH (WNWO) - Anthony Wayne Local Schools has been hoping to do some remodeling for years, and last fall they finally passed the necessary levy. But some parents are not happy with the proposed changes.
The 44 million dollar levy will allow the district to renovate all of their school buildings, but it’s the changes at Whitehouse Primary that have some community members concerned.
The total project should take around 3 years to complete.
“Ultimately there are several processes that have to be completed before getting there, and then constructing the buildings and the renovations and so forth,” said Anthony Wayne High Schools Superintendent Jim Fritz.
An entirely new Whitehouse Primary will be constructed behind the existing primary school. It will hold 500 to 600 students. It will have the usual classrooms, lunch rooms, gymnasiums, and offices, but with one glaring change: no formal media center.
Instead, the new facility will have three active learning areas.
“It actually adds access to students with having those three spaces versus just having one space for student have to kind of compete with each other in the building,” Fritz explained.
The areas will still have books and computers available for students to use. And there will still be a media center aid available to students who will now rotate among the areas. However this does raise some concerns for local parents.
Many residents we talked to were concerned that removing the formal media center sent mixed messaged to kids about the value of reading. Others added the media center was always a favorite excursion for students.
“I have three children who have gone through Whitehouse Primary, and they have all enjoyed the media center," questioned Paula Mowry, a Whitehouse Resident. "So I’m not sure why they would do that.”
The school will not be removing any of their existing books, and they do in fact slightly expand their collection each year.
The hope is to have the different grade levels of books placed in the active learning area nearest the appropriate classroom. But this separation also has a few parents scratching their heads.
“I don’t think that is a good idea. I think the kids should all be together and work together as a group,” added Veronica Locker, whose granddaughter is in the Anthony Wayne School District.
“When you go to a media center, you’re exposed to all different kinds of things," said Mowry. "So you can find out what you like. If you have a very small choice, then your being directed into what whoever set up the choices are.”
Others are concerned about who will man the two other active learning areas when the media center aid is at one. However Anthony Wayne administration says the new set up will not just improve accessibility to books, it will help encourage a love of reading as well.
“We want to create an atmosphere that’s more comfortable as well for students to have access to those books and those resources. So then they feel comfortable in those areas reading and so forth.”
The school district has publicly released their full renovation and remodeling plans earlier this month. You can see them at http://www.anthonywayneschools.org/Construction%20Projects