The Superintendent Sandbox is a column in the Yellowstone County News that each Superintendent submits monthly to update the masses on their school and the issues and topics that are important for each school. This is the latest update Superintendent Tobin Novasio submitted that is pertinent for the Lockwood School.
On February 22nd we hosted the ceremonial groundbreaking for the construction of Lockwood High School. Following up on this important event I wanted to give the community an update on the progress of this project, decisions we have made, how construction will impact the use of our campus, and what our next steps are.
The majority of the planning for the new high school is now complete. However, we are still fine-tuning finishing touches such as materials and colors for interiors, furniture, and signage. The design process was focused on the priorities identified by our community in the pre-bond process: ample classroom space with room to grow, student safety, dedicated auditorium space for fine arts, large indoor and outdoor sports spaces, and a dedicated community space. I really believe we have designed what will be the premiere high school facility in the state while still insuring that the school runs efficiently on a day-to-day basis.
The most notable decision our trustees have made is to proceed with opening the high school next fall with the enrollment of a freshman class. While we always knew that this would be the best scenario for students academically; we needed to wait until ourconstruction manager, architects, and owner’s representative gave us the “go ahead” thatthe Auxiliary Building would be ready in the fall of 2019; therefore, we are also committed to working with current 8th graders who want to attend high school in SD2.
This Auxiliary Building is 26,000 square feet, with ample room to host the whole 9th grade this first year and will then transition into our Career and Technological Education Building with some Athletic/PE areas. There will be two large (2,200+ sq. ft. each) shop areas; one for woods, one for metals as well as multiple CTE classrooms including a lab area for AutoCAD. Additionally, this building will host our weight room and a dedicated wrestling area that can also be used for conditioning and adaptive PE classes. Our Auxiliary gymnasium, which will be used for PE, extracurricular practices, dances, and sub-varsity games, is located in this building.
Because we have committed to opening LHS next fall, we are currently advertising for several teaching and support positions. The trustees have been working with the Montana School Boards Association to update our board policies to reflect the inclusion of a high school in our district. We will also adopt student and activity handbooks this spring.
While the start of construction is an exciting time, there will be growing pains. Starting next week, the most obvious of these will be the impact on parking for the
existing buildings, as about two-thirds of the Middle School parking lot is going to be fenced off for construction. This spring our staff will park in the center of the bus drop off and pick up area. This works because staff vehicles are here prior to bus drop off and leave after the buses depart. We ask that visitors do not drive into this area! Middle School drop off, pick up, and parking will now take place in a greatly reduced MS parking lot area in front of the current Administrative Building. We understand that this reduced area is likely to be frustrating due to the number of parents who pick up and drop off students in a short time; but please bear with us and show patience during this time of growth.
This summer, in addition to the construction of Lockwood High School, we also have several other campus-wide projects going on. Remember the bond was not only to construct the high school but also included many other needed facility improvements for our older schools. These additional projects combined with the high school construction will likely limit how much public use of our grounds will be allowed. Phase II of our initial roofing plan, mainly the Primary School, is slated for this summer. We are also currently taking bids to fix the metal roof above what is now the 2nd grade hallway and are planning on revamping the office and entrance areas in both elementary schools as safety upgrades. The entire campus is going to be a hub of activity over the next 18 months!
A public meeting to update the community on our progress is being planned for mid-April, please be on the lookout for that date once we finalize it. Additionally, Langlas & Associates have committed to having community tours of the construction site as we progress through the building process, these too will be noticed once we finalize a schedule.
If you have any questions on the progress or process of constructing LockwoodHigh School and our other campus improvements please don’t hesitate to reach out tome. As always, thank you for the opportunity to work with your children. Go Lions!