RACINE — Ready or not, the students return this week at Southern Local Schools.
The last of the districts in the tri-county area to begin the 2013-14 school year, it was for good reason that the Southern Local administration and board of education elected to begin school two weeks later than others in the region.
When students do return this week it will be in a new building.
A little more than 14 months after ground was broken on the new Southern High School, work is nearly complete.
While there will still be some of the projects to be completed after school begins — including the gymnasium floor — the majority of the work will have been completed by the time students arrive on Wednesday morning.
Superintendent Tony Deem said on Wednesday that to metal roof will be installed in the coming days after arriving last week.
Construction began in late June 2012 after the bid by Kinsale Corporation was approved by the board of education. The base bid by Kinsale Corporation was $10,522,806 — slightly over the revised estimated cost of $10,500,000.
The bond issue/maintenance levy was passed during an August 2010 special election. The local match required for the project is 25 percent, with 75 percent coming from the state.
The school will be unveiled to students and their parents on Tuesday during an open house from 4-7 p.m.
“The open house is specifically to orient students and their families with the new building,” said Deem. “A public open house will be held at a later date, probably in late fall.”
One topic that Deem said has been the subject of much discussion among parents and students is the matter of lunches. Deem provided The Daily Sentinel with the following schedule for lunch at Southern,
10:30 a.m. — kindergarten and first grade
10:45 a.m. — second and third grades
11:15 a.m. — sixth, seventh and eighth grades
11:45 a.m. — fourth and fifth grades
12:15 p.m. — ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades
Deem emphasized that at no time will the high school students and elementary students be in the cafeteria at the same time.
In addition to the new building for the high school, improvements were made to the existing elementary kitchen to allow it to serve the additional 200 students. New equipment has been put in place, including pass through warmers and refrigerators, and a second register area. There is also an expanded area for dry food storage.
Entry to Southern Elementary will be through the new high school addition.
No entry will be permitted at the old elementary entrance, which within a few weeks will be converted into the Southern Wellness Center. At that time only those seeking medical attention will enter here.
All parking will be in front of the new high school, which is also where pick-ups and drop-offs for both schools will take place. Student drop off will be another change for the school year. Drop off for parents will be in front of the new high school where there will be a loop for drivers.
Bus pick-ups will be in the rear of the building and no public access or drop offs will be permitted in the rear of the building by the bus garage.
Parents should take note that Southern Elementary will begin classes at 7:50 a.m. and dismiss at 2:45 p.m. Southern High School begins classes at 7:40 a.m. and dismisses at 2:45 p.m. Breakfast at the elementary begins at 7:25 a.m. Students should not arrive before 7:25 a.m. as students will be unsupervised until this time and under the responsibility of their parents.
Breakfast for all students is free both at the elementary school and high school. Lunch prices are up $.05 in each building for the upcoming year in accordance with state regulations. Prices are $2.10 for elementary and $2.45 for high school.
New faculty/staff for the 2013-14 school year include Tricia McNickle, preschool to third grade principal; Chris Carroll, physical education; Sandra Mayes, high school English; Courtney Lively, primary intervention; Courtney Guinter, intermediate intervention/science; Jacynda Lynch, fourth grade language arts; John Combs, social studies; David Maxson, social studies; Andrea Cline, guidance; Andrea Edwards, second grade; Cheryl Smith, preschool bus driver. Also, recently hired were Jonathan Polster, High School English and Darren Jackson, Elementary Music.
There are also a few bus changes recently approved for the upcoming year. Bus 1 will run on Rowe Road; Bus 4 (previously bus 8) will run on Wells Run; and Bus 14 will run on Smith Ridge Road.
In addition to the new building for the high school, the administrative office has also relocated. The superintendent and treasurer’s offices are now located in the strip mall in the business district near Dollar General and Home National Bank.
Anyone with questions concerning the 2013-14 school year may contact the school at (740) 949-4222 or the bus garage at (740) 949-2811 for bus questions.