Summer renovations set up students for success
As the 2017-18 school year begins, West finally wraps up all of their summer construction projects. The track replacement project has finally come to an end and students are able to begin their training for various sports and events held on its surface. Beyond the track, there is also a buzz of new improvements with other projects such as the teacher parking lot and the addition of air conditioning in the media center. Track coach and English teacher Brett Hartman experienced conflicts due to the improvement process over the summer. Originally, the track was set to be finished by August 16, but due to certain delays it just became open to students earlier this month.
“It was just finished September 6. Everything, as far as I am aware, is now done. We got so much rain just before the end of the summer, that they couldn’t lay the rubber down without it getting ruined right away,” he said.
Summer initiatives such as West’s CATS program were also affected.
“Over the summer West offers their CATS program and usually we do half of it out on the track and half of it in the weight room. So this year, we had to do a lot more in the parking lot or on the hill,” Hartman said. “We did the hill more than we wanted to, but it is all we had. It wasn’t ideal by any means, especially running on the black top when the risk of injuries goes up, but we saw these things as small worries in order to have a new track.”
Both the safety of the athletes as well as competing with the facilities of other schools were contributing factors to the replacement of the track. Hartman emphasized how important the new track is to the runners.
“For the kids who are already out, it kinda gives a new sense of pride; we actually fit in now instead of being stuck running on something no one cared to replace,” he said. “Along with that safety is no longer an issue; there are no more holes in the track that kids could step on. There are no longer any issues regarding possible injuries, we can wear our spikes on it, and we no longer have to worry about slipping and falling and getting their foot stuck beneath the track.” Looking into the major benefits that come along with the track, junior Jenna Kiraly is also excited as an athlete.
“It makes training different because there are not as many injuries such as shin splints, and it boosts the morale of the runners,” she said.
The improvements were specifically carried out to better impact as many people as possible. Safety was not only a factor in the new track for athletes, but also in laying a new parking lot for the teachers, with the addition of new lights to bring it up to code.
“The project was chosen by the district and the maintenance department and even though the parking lot was in rough shape, the primary reason for it was to add more lighting because it is just really dark.,” Principal Erin Kohl said. “It was basically a safety concern anytime you have a really dark area and people walking to cars a lot. In order for us to get all of the electricity and all of that ran out there the whole parking lot got replaced as well.”
Improvement to the interior of the building include the addition of air conditioning in the media center. This is due to its wide amount of resources available for all students and staff members. Media assistant Ellyn Lahr is excited for this new change.
“The media center is one of the most multipurpose rooms in the entire building, leading to a huge number of people passing through at any given time. And when you are here, it is for an extended period of time,” she said. “It is the perfect space to have temperature controlled, because before we were never able to keep a consistent temperature.”
Along with the comfort of everyday users, the installment in the media center was also due to the large amounts of energy that would need to be used to operate the air conditioning throughout the school.
“Oshkosh West is huge. What the limited air conditioning unit allows us to do is just cool and heat the spaces that are in operation all year and not have to heat the whole building,” Lahr said.
In order to benefit as many people as possible, the air conditioning was strategically placed in the media center over other locations such as classrooms and hallways in the building.
After all the improvements made at West over the summer, the new facilities are welcomed by those who will be using the spaces most often.
Kiraly, running track in the spring, already has high hopes for her season because of the improvement made.
“As an athlete I am very excited for the new track and hearing about all of these new improvements to the school,” she said about the changes. “The track will allow us to finally be able to wear spikes, and we can all feel West pride in our new track with the Wildcat logo.”