Kingswood complex finally opens for school year
|KINGSWOOD REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL Guy Donnelly welcomed students briefly gathered in the new combined middle and high school library and directed them to their new advisories at the start of the day on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The official welcome and new school presentations took place not long after in the Kingswood Arts Center. (Elissa Paquette photo) (click for larger version)|
September 22, 2011WOLFEBORO — It isn't until one reaches the trophy case outside of the main gym (closed for now) in the interior of the school, that memories of Kingswood Regional High School as it used to be, find a physical orientation. No wonder. Principal Guy Donnelly says that seven months worth of construction took place on site in the last three and a half months the school has been closed.
Upon entering the school from the main entrance, one enters the administrative area, a quiet, bright open space from which the offices of Donnelly, his assistant principal Bill Douglass, and their staff, as well the guidance department, the school resource officer and attendance staff branch off on either side.
What is missing is the cafeteria, open and surrounded by second floor classrooms, reverberating with the sounds of students chatting as they eat breakfast or lunch. Instead, students and visitors can walk through the lobby and turn down a hallway leading to an interconnected network of classrooms.
The building itself has been expanded forward and to the sides. Halls are wider, so they will be less congested than in the past, and classrooms have more natural light.
The library, serving both the middle and high schools, opens to a central skylight, providing more sunlight to the semicircular help desk. Donnelly, offering a tour, points with approval to a room off to the side set up for class instruction when a teacher brings in a class for library work. Before, other students studying in the library would have to try to cope with the distraction.
Until the cafeteria remodeling is complete, students will eat in the new practice gym. Standing in the doorway, Donnelly says that the new gym, added to the others, will make it possible for students on the usual six to eight basketball teams to be out by 7 p.m. at the latest, rather than the 9 p.m. exit of the past.
The day before school, teachers were concentrating on organizing their classrooms. A telephone technician was situated in the main office coordinating the operation of the systems throughout the building and straightening out the kinks reported by teachers.
Science teacher Diane Wasmuth was enthused about the spacious science classrooms (six of the seven are operational) and the numerous safety features, and tables in Maria DeChiaro's business classroom were lined with black computers, newly wired for action.
On the first day for high school students on Tuesday, Sept. 20, traffic slowed on South Main Street as school busses pulled in to drop students off and exit to begin their elementary school runs. Cars lined the parking lots once again.
Kingswood Regional Middle School students began classes on Monday, Sept. 19, and began their orientation. The high schoolers began touring what for most, with the exception of freshmen, used to be familiar territory, at 7:25 a.m. the next day, in a well-orchestrated schedule.
Senior Cieran Paterson, for one, was "glad to see signs posted" on hallway walls. It seemed a long way from one place to another.
Attendance secretary Nancy Bell, a Governor Wentworth Regional School District employee for 23 years and a member of the class of 1972, said for her it was "so nice to see the same trophy case." It's the one clear marker of the past.
So, every student in the district from the elementary schools on up has now begun the 2011-12 school year. Construction continues at the middle and high schools, so scheduling challenges remain, but that's a fact of life everyone involved has learned to expect.
Donnelly continues to express gratitude for the taxpayers whose support have made the massive project possible. So many stand to gain from it, most importantly, the students now and in the future.