High school projects on referendum list

THE COUNTERS AND cabinets in the Plymouth High School science classrooms are original to the 50-year-old building. — Submitted photo THE COUNTERS AND cabinets in the Plymouth High School science classrooms are original to the 50-year-old building. — Submitted photo EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles from the Plymouth School District on the $31.9 million referendum on the April election ballot.

The April 3 referendum includes plans for numerous projects that would provide expanded learning opportunities for Plymouth High School students.

Improved Science facilities

Renovated modern labs to facilitate experiments and team problem-solving would provide a strong foundation to support the PHS science and technology curriculum.

The existing science labs are original to the building, which opened more than 50 years ago. Their life expectancy has been extended through diligent maintenance, but updates to the plumbing and the chemical tabletops are needed.

The rooms originally were designed for fewer students, which makes for crowded learning space. Desks are organized in rows amid the lab stations

- fine for listening to teacher lectures but not conducive to team problem-solving.

Plans call for moving some walls and incorporating teacher prep areas to make larger classrooms, which would better separate lab space (for conducting experiments) from workspace (for teams to gather to go over their findings).

New Health Careers curriculum

In anticipation of expected shortages in healthcare fields, PHS wants to offer new courses, including pre-nursing, medical terminology, and occupational and physical therapy classes.

Plans call for creation of a Health Careers Center in the classrooms rooms across from the PHS pool balcony. In addition, a new training room would double as a pre-med classroom, where those looking to enter health fields could learn while helping student athletes.

The district would partner with local colleges to develop the curriculum and equip the labs. PHS students could use the facilities during the day, and college students and adult learners could use them in the evenings, as is currently done in the LTC Plymouth Science & Technology Center.

Enhanced Culinary Arts kitchens

Expanding the Culinary Arts kitchens would help keep up with significantly increased demand for these classes and allow more students to earn culinary certifications.

Safety and security

The main entrance to the school would be made more secure, as the high school office would be relocated with a direct view of the door. In addition, district and Community Education & Recreation offices would be relocated toward the front of the building, to provide more secure, more convenient access for visitors.

The proposed security upgrades also would al- low the school to close off certain areas of the building for security reasons during the times when the community is using the building. In addition, plans call for a districtwide security and communications system upgrade.

Safety improvements also would be made to parking and traffic areas in front of the building, with bus lanes separated from vehicle drop-off areas.

Food Service

Plans also call for improvements to the PHS Food Service area. The kitchen is too small to meet the current nutrition program, which increasingly makes use of ingredients grown in the Food Science & Agriculture Center and in the PHS garden, as well as from local farmers.

In addition, the cafeteria looks much as it did when the school opened 51 years ago; making it over as more of a commons could better facilitate student groups collaborating on projects. Enhanced outdoor seating could encourage students to get a bit of fresh air during their lunch period.

The referendum question, which will be on the April 3 ballot, asks voters if they support borrowing up to $31.9 million to improve safety/security; to expand learning opportunities for high school students; and to provide better access to education, wellness and recreation for students and the community.

The district is putting the question before voters after spending nearly a year conducting a thoughtful and thorough evaluation of existing facilities and seeking community feedback through focus groups and a districtwide survey.

To learn more about the proposed upgrades to school facilities, please visit www.plymouth.k12.wi.us/facilities.html. Additional questions can be directed by phone to 892-2661 or by email to facilities@plymouth.k12.wi.us.

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