By Catherine Festa, TSB Contributor
With school less then two weeks away, one would expect teachers and staff to be preparing for the first day in their own building. But for the McKinney High School staff, that process is a little behind schedule.
Last winter, MISD announced that MHS would begin their expansion into a higher UIL classification 5A school on March 1. This meant the entire building would undergo reconstruction from March, 2012 to December, 2013. That meant, not only would construction take place while school was in session, but also throughout the summer, moving the staff to work out of McKinney Boyd High School until mid-August.
“We moved into Boyd two days after graduation, June 4, and we basically took over downstairs H hall,” MHS Assistant Principal Michael Bennett said. “All administrators have been using the classrooms as working space, and the teachers have just begun gearing up for school alongside us.”
Not only has the staff been moved to Boyd for the summer, but they also are not able to move back into MHS until Thursday, August 16, giving them 11 days to get their classrooms, offices, and the building ready for the first day.
“Teachers begin before-school development on Thursday [August 16] so that is when we will first let them into MHS,” Bennett said. “But we will end up having to open the school on weekends to the teachers in order to ensure they get their classrooms ready in time.”
With the Aug. 27 start of school just around the corner, the staff must also prepare for Schedule Pick Up and Pride Camp, taking place on Tuesday, August 21. All 10th-through-12th graders will come in throughout the morning, and then freshman will take tours of the school during the afternoon.
“This is the first time the students will get to see what has happened to the school over the summer,” Bennett said. “So we need to get in the building and gear up for that too.”
After six months of construction, several new advances have been made to MHS, including expanded parking lots, a new main entrance, brand new classrooms in upstairs and downstairs E hall, flex areas (community learning areas), new teacher workrooms, and new floors and freshly-painted walls in the main gym.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the needed change for the space,” Bennett said. “We need to make a progression to the future. I’m excited for good things to come.”
Although many changes have already been made, construction is still more then a year from being completed. The projected date of completion is not until half way through the next school year.
“In January, 2013, we start phase two,” Bennett said. “So teachers in particular halls will be moved to an entirely new place in the building.”
With the move-in date upon them, the staff is ready to get back into their own environment.
“Honestly, we just want to go home to MHS,” Bennett said. “Boyd has been very gracious to us, but we are tired of being guests. We are ready to get back to MHS and do what needs to be done for our school.”