Work is underway to turn to Sheffield Area Middle High School into a K-12 facility, and the impact on students and parents is expected to be minimal.
Unlike work at the Beaty-Warren Middle School and Eisenhower Middle High School project sites, the Warren County School District's plan for Sheffield largely consists of an addition. That means most of the work will occur outside of the existing structures.
"Most of the work has been outside," Interim Director of Student Services Ruth Nelson said.
Times Observer photo by Jacob Perryman
Work has already begun on the addition of a wing to house elementary classrooms as part of Sheffield Area Middle High school’s conversion into a K-12 facility. Work is expected to be largely outside the existing building, making impact on students and parents in the coming year minimal.
At Sheffield, work is already underway installing an addition on the south end of the building where student parking and tennis courts were located.
The addition will connect to the existing structure where the former gym/auditorium entrance was. During construction, that area will be blocked with a plywood wall. The new wing will eventually house the building's elementary classes.
There will be some minor activity in the current school itself as connecting infrastructure, such as heating ducts, are connected to the new addition, but impact on activities in the existing building is expected to be minimal.
"We're ready to go," said Sheffield Principal Amy Beers. "None of our teachers are even moving classrooms."
Restrooms in the existing structure are undergoing renovations and there will be some reduction of availability as work progresses. The renovated restrooms are being updated to meet Americans with Disabilities Act compliance guidelines.
"There will always be two restrooms available and one closed," Beers said.
The biggest change in the coming year will be parking and entrance arrangements.
Student drop-offs will no longer be at the side of the building, having been shifted to the lower front parking lot.
Parking in the lower front lot has been adjusted as well to accommodate more vehicles and will be used for student permit parking.
"We probably park 40 to 50 cars," Beers noted. "There's plenty of parking."
Parking spaces in the upper front lot are no longer laid out as parallel spots.
Staff, meanwhile will park in the lot behind the building.
During school hours, including during morning arrival, entrance to the building will be through the front of the building. According to Beers, the front and cafeteria entrances will be utilized during the day.
After hours, due to the unavailability of the former gym/auditorium doors, access to the building will be through the cafeteria entrance or through the back door entrances into the gym.
"Our effect is mostly extracurricular," Beers said, "rather than effecting what is going on in the building. The only difference they'll see is where they come in."
Anyone attending an after-school event in the building after construction stops at 5 p.m., can use the back gym doors or the cafeteria doors. For events requiring a ticket, ticket takers will be available at either entrance.
Thanks to community support, fall sports have not been impacted.
According to Beers and Nelson, the school's football team has been practicing at the field in downtown Sheffield. Meanwhile, Sheffield Township has added approximately 30 parking spaces in the area known locally as Wolverine Mountain in anticipation of fall events.
"It's important to note that the community has been supportive," Nelson said.
The volleyball team, meanwhile, has been practicing at the school and is scheduled to hold a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 23.
Parking during football games will be more limited, according to Beers.
Individuals with a medical condition that prevents them from climbing stairs are invited to use the upper parking lot, but those who do not have a medical condition will be able to utilize the front lots and the back parking lot. Beers said she expects parking during games will utilize the edges of the entrance drive.
"Parking will be more limited," Beers said.
Students will encounter contractors in the existing structure as they connect it with the addition, but Beers said it isn't any cause for concern.
"They're (students) certainly going to see contractors in the facility." Beers said. "They have their clearances. Parents need not worry. The building is safe. It is secure. They have the credentials they need."
In changes not related to the physical facility, Sheffield will also be welcoming a new assistant principal when Kim Yourchisin, who serves as special education supervisor for the school district, expands her role to include the position.
Aug. 20 - Students may begin making schedule changes
Aug. 23 - Volleyball scrimmage
Aug. 27 - First day of school for teachers
Aug. 31 - First home varsity football game
Sept. 3 - First home varsity volleyball game
Sept. 4 - First day for students
Sept. 9 - First home junior varsity football game
Sept. 9 - First home junior high girls basketball game
Sept. 12 - First home junior high football game
Sept. 23 - School open house
Oct. 5 - Homecoming football game/homecoming weekend