PRESHO — It was a busy day for staff and students Monday at the Lyman School District.
Staff, faculty and administration were all busy moving the contents of the district high school classrooms in Presho into a new addition to their building. Desks, materials and equipment were all on the move as part of a two-day transition that marks the beginning of a new era at the district, one that includes the construction of a new building and students moving from one district building to another.
It’s a long process that has been in the works for some time, said Rob Davis, superintendent of the Lyman School District.
“It’s been ongoing for several years. When I came in, that was one of the board’s goals - to try and figure out how we could get some classroom space and also getting all the elementary students in one building,” Davis said.
The changes started with the construction of the new addition, which will house the district high school, as well as some office space for administration. After the high school classrooms are moved to their new home, the elementary school students in Presho will move temporarily into the old high school classrooms. The elementary school building in Presho will then be demolished to make way for a new building that will include a commons area, kitchen and gymnasium.
Next fall, all elementary school students in the district are expected to move to the district location in Kennebec, and the middle school students and their classrooms in Kennebec will be transferred to the old high school classrooms in Presho.
When it’s all said and done, all of the district's elementary school classrooms will be in Kennebec and the high school and middle school students will be together in Presho.
Ashley Green, a second grade teacher at the elementary school in Presho, was busy transferring the contents of her classroom to the old high school classrooms Monday morning. Her students had helped move some of the smaller items in her classroom before the high school students began moving the larger pieces for her.
It was a bit of a chaotic scene, but Green said it was going smoothly and faster than expected.
“I am excited. It’s exciting for the whole school. It’s something new and kind of chaotic right away, but other than that it’s exciting and there are new things to come,” Green said.
Green said that housing the elementary school students together will be a benefit for both teachers and students.
“I’m excited for it as a second grade teacher. If I can’t reach my second graders as well, I can always run over to the next room to ask the other second grade teacher, so I’m really excited about that,” Green said. “And we’ll all be together.”
Green said the school staff and high school students were so efficient during the morning move that they began helping elementary staff with their move to the old high school space, a transition that wasn’t scheduled until Thursday.
“The high schoolers have been working hard today. The second graders were awesome help, too, and they were moving little things that they could,” Green said. “As of right now, I told them to just put everything in the middle of the room and I’ll work on organizing it this afternoon and tonight and tomorrow, but we’ll get it done. It’s exciting.”
Justice Jessop, a senior at the school, was in the middle of hauling boxes and furniture from the elementary rooms to the old high school space Monday morning. With everyone focused on the move, the process went quickly, he said.
“It’s been going quickly,” Jessop said. “When you have the whole high school doing it, it goes pretty fast.”
Jessop said the addition at the Presho location is a nice change, even if he won’t get to use it as much as younger and future students at the school.
“It’s a really nice update. I’ve been here for four years, so it’s a nice change of scenery. We only get to use it for next semester, but yeah, it’s nice to see,” Jessop said.
It’s a lot of moving and change, Davis said, but the estimated $8.1 million project will allow the district to better serve its students and district patrons. The addition that will house the high school students will be a completely modern facility with the ability to support the latest educational trends.
“Our high school classrooms are going to have 21st century technology,” Davis said.
Having the elementary school students under one roof in Kennebec will better allow teachers to share resources and will bring a sense of togetherness to the youngest district students. And having the high school and middle school students closer together will help ease the transition for middle school students as they move up to high school, Davis said.
“Our transitions will be much better from middle school to high school, and (elementary) teachers will be able to collaborate better because they’re not nine miles apart,” Davis said. “It makes more sense to put them all together.”
The wet spring and summer weather changed the timeline for when some of the moving had to be done. Davis said he had hoped to make the move over the summer so it wouldn’t interfere with classes during the school year, but the two days of lifting and toting will be worth it once complete, he said.
“We were trying to work it out where the project would finish in the summer, but timelines just wouldn’t allow us to do that,” Davis said.
Davis said the district is aiming for completion of the project in December 2020, so it will be another year of waiting, moving and planning before everything is squared away where it should be. In the meantime, there are some other renovation projects to compete along the way. The music room has already undergone an upgrade, and Davis said the district is already looking at improving parking for next year.
But when it’s all said and done, Lyman School District will have a vastly upgraded school ready to take in students from around the area, he said.
An open house to view the changes is scheduled Dec. 5 in Presho and Dec. 10 in Kennebec for the general public.