Centre USD students and staff are returning this week to school facilities with many changes. Teachers reported to work Monday, and students will be returning tomorrow.
The first thing they will see is a resurfaced parking lot. Plans are to number each parking space. Each student who drives and each staff member will have an assigned parking space.
Several large panels extending on either side of the front entrance, formerly covered with wood or solid plastic sheeting, have been replaced with glass, and the doors themselves now have solid glass windows. The change allows natural light to flood the foyer.
Other entrances also have full-length glass panels to add light to the hallways.
According to Superintendent Jerri Kemble, almost all classrooms have been repainted. Each classroom has three walls painted in a neutral color and one wall, the teaching wall, painted in an intense color related to the subject taught there.
Kemble said research by Bill Daggett, the chief executive officer of the International Center for Leadership in Education, revealed, for example, that green in a science room and blue in a math room awakens the brain to that particular subject.
Some classrooms have received new shelving. New staff rules have been implemented to eliminate clutter. Each classroom is equipped with a hand-sanitizer dispenser.
Bathrooms have received upgrades including power dryers, hands-free paper towel dispensers, and automatic-flush urinals. The exterior doors have been removed. Kemble said the changes provide a more sanitary and safe environment for all.
Tile floors have been stripped of layers of old wax and given six to eight coats of finish.
The front office, first-grade classroom, and Title 1 room have new carpeting.
Hallway lockers are updated with new paint and combination locks. Hallway panels and gates have been painted to match the lockers.
Hail damage repairs, covered by insurance, include several new air conditioners, several new roofs, and a new greenhouse roof.
Asphalt millings were laid on the lane to the football field on the west side of the school.
Equipment has been added to the elementary school playground, and a sidewalk has been laid to the school entrance.
The high jump pit and basketball court north of the school has been leveled and resurfaced.
High school and junior high students will be eating meals in the north gym rather than in the commons area. Kemble said the change would permit a freer flow of students through the serving line.
A new intercom system will be installed in September. It will feature music instead of bells to signal class changes.
The district office has a new look, too. It has a new roof and entrance.
Custodial and maintenance services for the Centre district are provided by IServe, Inc., of El Dorado.
Kemble had high praise for the job the company has done since its contract began June 1.
“The timing couldn’t have been better,” she said. “I am grateful to the board of education for making this move.”
The board approved a contract with the company in May. Money for the improvements came from the general fund and capital outlay.
Kemble, who serves as district superintendent and kindergarten through 12th grade principal as well as the director of the Kansas Online Learning Program, said IServe has taken a load off her shoulders.
The company keeps her informed, but its oversight allows her to be less involved in facilities issues and more involved with educational issues.
She said the company operates in a professional manner and provides quality customer service.
Kemble believes that a clean, attractive atmosphere engenders respect by those who work in and visit a facility.
“It improves the culture,” she said.