So, you’ve probably heard about the renovations that Southwest High School and many other buildings are doing in the near future. They’ve been thinking about this remodel for at least 5 years and now it’s finally starting to appear on the horizon.
Why are they even doing this, you ask. A lot of programs are making changes in this area. And it’s not just construction. They’re also working on academic improvement (especially in the early childhood department), and community development.
But the focus for Zone 3 (that’s us!) is to make more space. Southwest Minneapolis is getting more populated. There will be about 400 more kids coming and if we don’t do these renovations soon, it’s going to be a tight squeeze.
What’s Being Done
If you’re a student and you are an underclassman, you’ll be happy to know that air conditioning will be included in the renovation. Many were complaining this September about the extreme heat in the school. Dr. Smith says that there will be air conditioning in the auditorium by this April or May. That means we can’t miss school because of the heat anymore! The person that’s funding all of that air is the same guy who put in our new stadium lights.
There will be a new lunchroom, kitchen, main offices, a hallway leading through the current kitchen, and taking up the space of those old places is many more classrooms. As you may have heard, the link is being removed and in its place, we’ll be expanding it forward, backward, and skyward. In its place will be the new lunchroom, kitchen, and offices. So our new way of getting to the east building is on either side of the lunchroom. What is currently the lunchroom will be (possibly) a new dance studio, along with other classrooms. There will also be other new classrooms on the second floor of the link! And the old offices might be the new College and Career Center. And did I mention we’re getting a new main door? Instead of the little link door, we’ll have a big, glass, main door. Exciting, right?
And *infomercial voice* that’s not all! There will also be changes involving schooling, classes, and even the time. That’s right, we’re all about to lose half an hour of sleep because Southwest’s new starting time is going to be 8:00am. The board is also discussing having a block schedule for upperclassmen – where people can have one class for several hours, but not every day (similar to college class schedules). This will all be decided by March so people can start signing up!
For years, the school board has been saving up bonds for this project. The entire thing will end up costing somewhere around $500 million! It sounds like a lot for a couple new classrooms and a decked out hallway, but with the bucket-load of new kids coming in the next few years, it will (hopefully) be worth it.
If you’re like me, you might be thinking about how this project will last for a good 3-4 years. You could be asking yourself “What are we doing in the meantime?” Your answer is that nothing changes. Sure, we’ll have plenty of noisy days, and of course we’ll have to make temporary routes to the east building, but it’ll all be worth it in the end, right? And what about those community ed classes in the summer? Though the construction might get distracting, the school has already started moving most of the classes to the east building to have them out of the way.
All of this planning and all of these flowcharts that the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education are making are very general. This entire project will not be finished until about 2016 or 2017. They’re hoping to start taking down the link this September, but who knows what problems the weather will bring us? They may have to push removing the link until March. All of the information I got from Dr. Smith is relative. Our staff and ATS&R (the company doing the drawings for this) are still in the drawing stages of this enormous project. Each time they have a meeting the image of our new school gets clearer and clearer.