When students return from distance learning this February, they will find many areas of the school look different.
The last few years there has been construction going on at SFHS, as well as all of the other buildings in St. Francis Area Schools. Construction has continued while students have been away, throughout the most recent period of distance learning.
“We made a lot of progress,” said Principal Doug Austin. “The gymnastics gym is done, the locker rooms are almost done, the weight room and fitness rooms are ready.”
Austin said that athletes have been utilizing some of the new spaces since they returned January 2nd.
“The weight room looks nicer and cleaner,” said senior Adam Grebowski. “The fitness room and weight room are now connected. Now you don’t have to run across the school to get on a bike if that is part of your workout plan with Coach Girard.”
In addition, many of the common spaces in the school have been updated.
“The Bridge Street Room, which is the cafeteria (now), is gone, so that is probably the biggest thing since students walk in and look to the left as they enter the building,” said Austin.
The commons now flows directly into what was once the Bridge Street Room. Instead of a back wall and stage, people will see floor to ceiling windows. They also added counter space around the room where people might do homework or eat like in a cafe. In addition, there is a collage of photos that wrap around the commons area, which provides a gallery of school events from the past and the present.
There are still some odds and ends that Austin calls “punch list” items in the construction process to be completed, but as far as new construction, Austin believes the project is almost complete.
“There are little things from time to time as there might need to be things replaced,” he said. “It always takes time when there aren’t students in the building to try and figure out (things like) all the temperature works and the PA system we will need to evaluate,” said Austin.
In addition, the library has new shelves and is ready for students. Thea Sviehel, who works closely with students in the IMC said she couldn’t wait to get books on the shelves, but it’s not only books she hopes to see soon.
“I can’t wait for students to come back,” said Sviehel.