portsmouth-dailytimes.com

New Boston students return to school

September 5, 2012

RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY


PDT Staff Writer


NEW BOSTON — Students at New Boston Schools expected to start the new school year in a new school building — but after delaying the start of school for several weeks to allow more time for final construction, students finally had to face the inevitable fact that they would have to spend a little more time in their old buildings after all.


Students returned to those old buildings Wednesday, where at the high school Superintendent Mike Staggs started the year with an assembly to discuss the coming school year and their progress on the new construction. He said the district expects to take occupancy of the new school on Sept. 28, and students should be able to move to the new building in very early October.


“We have worked very hard to give you a new school, and the biggest hope that we had was to start in that building,” Staggs said to students. “I believe that they are really, really close to being done.”


He told students that school as they know is about to change dramatically.


“In October, you’re going to have what I think is the nicest, safest, most technologically-advanced building in Ohio, and maybe in the nation. That’s the honest truth. The building, when we first started working on it, we wanted it to be different. There were certain priorities we had. The most important was safety, but the second most important was comfort,” he said


Describing the new school to students, Staggs said there are no hard chairs in grades 4-12; every chair will be cushioned, and there will even be a couch in some of the classrooms. He described the new building as the students’ home away from school and asked students to help take care of it.


There are also no student desks anywhere in the new school, he said.


“We don’t want to cramp you in one of those little desks like you are now. And if you’re bigger than average, like myself — even when I was here (as a student) and I had trouble in those desks. But you’re not going to have any trouble with those desks because we don’t have them. We have tables,” he said.


He also explained how grades will be separated into pods. Grades 7-9, for instance, are in the “Blue Pod” (upstairs, in the center building) and grades 10-12 are in the “Red Pod” (upstairs, in the far right building closest to the stadium). Each pod will be locked-down, and accessible only with a key-card. There are also pods for Pre-K through kindergarten, grades 1-3, and grades 4-6.


“Let’s say I’m a 10th grader and I have a problem with (another student) and I’ve been talking smack about one of them and I might want to pick on them. But I’m 10th grader, so I’m in the Red Pod, and he’s in the Blue Pod. So can I go in and pick on him in the Blue Pod? I can’t even get in,” Staggs said.


For added security, visitors must enter through the front office and there are cameras all throughout the buildings.


“The way you have experienced education is going to change, and I think you’ll like it a lot better,” Staggs said to students.


While it’s likely disappointing for most students and parents that they will have to wait a few more weeks to start at the new building, some parents are also a little pleased. Mark and Laura Payton both graduated from New Boston school — just like their siblings, their parents and their grandparents. Now the Paytons have three children in various grades at New Boston School, including a daughter, Bailey, who is entering the 7th grade this year.


If students had started at the new school, as planned, Bailey would have never been able to experience Glenwood High School, which includes grades 7-12.


“I’m sad for them that they didn’t get to start in the new school, but I’m also kind of happy, for sentimental reasons, that Bailey got to start school. Because everybody in the family has gone there,” Laura Payton said.


The district passed a local levy to build new schools in 2008, and broke ground in April 2011. Once the new school is completed, the existing Stanton Elementary and Oak Intermediate schools will be demolished and the existing Glenwood High School will be sold to the South Central Ohio Educational Services Center for $1.


To hold onto the school’s rich history as the Glenwood Tigers, a new road will be built next to the school, called Glenwood Tiger Trail. The new pre-K through 12 school building is collectively known as the New Boston Schools Building, but each school division will retain their individual names: Stanton Primary, Oak Intermediate, and Glenwood High School.


Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or rottney@heartlandpublications.com.