WAHS to be ready for start of school

In this May 9, 2017, file photo, the Warren Area High School gymnasium floor is torn up. The gymnasium will be ready for physical education classes for the start of school on Sept. 5, although there may be finishing touches remaining at that point. The school’s classrooms are also on target for the start of school. The auditorium, the last stage of the project, is expected to be complete in October.

The first day of school is about a month away and Warren Area High School will be ready.

At Monday night’s meeting of the physical plant and facilities committee, Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said all of the classrooms in the school are expected to be ready for Sept. 5.

“The contractors will have all the classrooms by the beginning of the school year,” Kennerknecht said. “It’s very, very busy. There is a lot of activity going on everywhere.”

So far, the only classrooms that are not complete are the ones in the wing of the school that includes music, tech ed, and family consumer science, he said.

“The gymnasium may be behind in terms of being completed, but they’ll be able to use it for phys ed,” Kennerknecht said.

Asked about the color scheme in the gym, “it’s going to be white and blue when it’s done,” he said.

The last portion of the renovation is the auditorium, and that should be finished close on the heels of the start of school.

“The final phase is the auditorium phase,” Kennerknecht said. “That is scheduled to be completed by the end of October.”

While the work is to be done in two months, district officials know there is likely to be some working going on well beyond that. “There is a whole other year of follow-up,” Kennerknecht said.

WAEC enrollment

So far, the district is comfortable with kindergarten enrollment at Warren Area Elementary Center.

“From the last time that I shared enrollment with you it’s gone up about nine,” Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Rhonda Decker said.

Current enrollment numbers would put 22 students in each kindergarten class.

“22 is manageable, I believe, in a kindergarten classroom,” Decker said.

Administrators will keep an eye on the numbers.

“We’ve really developed some good relationships with the early childhood providers,” Decker said. That allows the district to be fairly accurate in its kindergarten enrollment projections.

If the class sizes rise too high, the district could hire an additional teacher “if we feel we’ll be needing someone on deck,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “We have some contingency dollars for staffing.”

But, if the enrollment changes at the last minute, the district will have to make late adjustments. “The one thing we can’t control is 12 kindergarten students standing in the lobby on day one,” Stewart said.

There will be space for an additional kindergarten class if necessary. The district moved its central attendance area fifth grades from WAEC to Beaty Warren Middle School for this school year.