Why Do We Need a New Jr High School?

Post date: Sep 2, 2014 2:31:32 PM


--This year I will be starting my 18th year as the principal of Arp Junior High. The first week I was employed during the summer of 1997 I purchased, with my own money, two cans of expanding insulation to close the 12 foot crack that ran along the mortar in the interior and exterior wall of a classroom. From that first week until the present day, it has been a constant problem for us to stay ahead of the ceiling leaks (currently over 100 water stained/mildewed ceiling tiles). The electrical breakers are frequently tripping due to the “ancient” wiring not being able to handle today’s technological needs. Another problem is the constant infestation of insects and mice due to easy access to our structure. The cost of ownership of the current building far exceeds the worth of the facility. It is similar to owning a car that is 10-15 years old that you have to dump $200-$300 a month into to keep it running. Another huge consideration is the 10 sets of doors that open into the building. Keeping those doors secure is near impossible. In today’s society, our children’s safety has to be a priority. The current building was built over 40 years ago when violence directed towards schools, students and faculty was unheard of. We NEED a safe school for your children and our students!....Dwight Thomas, AJH principal

--In 2010, I left the laptop cart in what I thought was a safe location in the classroom. That night, a storm blew in, and my classroom sprang several new leaks - one was over the laptop cart. Luckily, only the top of the cart was affected, but we still lost four netbooks to water damage from that incident.

--One year, during the night, a storm blew in. A new leak developed over my turn-in tray. The entire grade level had turned in essays that they had worked on for several days. I was unable to read or grade most of the papers. My students work very hard on these assignments and were looking forward to getting their work back. It was disappointing telling them that they would not be receiving the papers back AND we would have to write a new essay to replace the lost grade.…….Morgan Broyles, 7th grade ELA/reading teacher

--Because of the water leaking down the walls in the library, I have come across lots of books that have been damaged from water and mildew…..Tonya Irwin, librarian

--Having been in the Arp Junior High building my entire teaching career (spanning 25 years), I have encountered several problems with the structure. A few of the issues can be easily repaired yet others are an ongoing issue. I've experienced ants building their nests in my cabinets next to outer walls (foundation problems let them in). Also, ceiling tiles are frequently soaked with the rainwater from the leaky roof that welcomes black mold growth. For years, I have moved my desk several times to protect my computer from water damage. I have even put umbrellas over my computer to protect it when I am not at school.

--Another dilemma in our building is the electrical wiring. Extension cords, dangling wires from the ceiling and surge protectors (to provide multiple plugs) are an eyesore and can cause electrical breakers to throw their circuit. When this building was erected, technology products needing outlets were few but are needed now as we offer the most updated curriculum and technology tools to benefit and ensure the success of our students. My biggest concern at my school is security. Our campus has so many entry doors and is spread out over several buildings. For the past 20 years, we have had to chain the doors because they won't latch due to the shifting foundation. Anyone can gain access to our campus, without the office staff granting them permission, to classes and ultimately the students. Parents and our community know they are welcome on our campus; yet there could arise situations where safety could be compromised. I love working here and being part of the education of our next generation. A new building that provides security, is sound (no water leaks), sufficient electrical access (energy efficient too), and is built to meet the current needs, as well as future growth considerations, will definitely have my vote in November. Being a taxpayer in this district for decades, how could I not want the best for our children? ....Theresa Jones, 6th/7th grade science teacher

-- One year I walked into my classroom to gigantic ant hills. They were eating through the brick mortar. The ants were vacuumed up and they rebuilt their hills over night. I didn't think I was going to be able to go back in that classroom again......Tiffany Ellis, 8th grade ELA teacher

Two years ago while I was teaching a guidance lesson in my classroom, a rain-drenched ceiling tile fell just a couple of feet next to a table of students. The water splattered many students as it slammed to the ground. Then it was noticed that not only were we water-splattered, but we were mold-splattered as well. Mold was growing on the tile. Why were my students sitting near a rain-drenched tile? Because most of my tiles were water-logged, and therefore, there was no safe area in which to sit. This continues to be a constant worry for the students’ safety.….Kristy Thomas, Arp Junior High Guidance Counselor

--Multiple contractors have attempted to fix the leaks in the Jr High roof. Each year funds are expended to seal the leaks, but there has never been a solution for the way water gets into each classroom, ruins the walls, the expensive interactive boards, the computers, along with the books and supplies. Infestations of unhealthy critters and bugs are a constant threat. Cracked walls, moldy ceiling tiles, electrical issues, ineffective lighting, and possible intruder access to the campus raises safety issues which are constant reminders that the Jr High Building has passed the point of being a healthy learning environment. Dr. J