Area school districts prep for coming school year

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- It may seem far away now but the school year is fast approaching and districts across the Chippewa Valley are trying to finish up their summer projects before school is back in session.

And while summer for students usually means relaxation and sunshine, for area school districts it means prepping for the coming school year.

"Summer is always busy with catching up on maintenance issues" says District Administrator Ron Walsh with the Elk Mound school district.

And, from construction projects to developing curriculum, it isn’t hard to see why districts are constantly working. Business Manager, Chad Trowbridge with the Chippewa Falls school district says they’re dealing with large construction projects.

Trowbridge says, "We have several projects going on, district wide. At Southview Elementary we're putting on a twelve classroom addition. Then, last year we completed security entrances at both the high school and homestead. So, this year we're completing them at our remaining locations."

Trowbridge says the focus this summer is making their campus safer. He says, "We're always looking to protect the safety and security of our kids."

Which Randy Knowlton, the Director of Building, Grounds, and Safety says, takes a lot of planning. Knowlton says, "In all of our buildings we actually have secondary access, and that is for staff and students to access the receptionist. So, that access is separate than the visitor access, so those two don't mix."

At the Eau Claire school district, the focus has been developing curriculum.

"A major curriculum project we've been focusing on, it's our project Lead the Way program. Project Lead the Way is a national pre-college engineering program. These are highly rigorous courses in the S.T.E.M field: science, technology, engineering and math."

Valk says strengthening the program has been the main project this summer. Memorial High School principal, Dave Oldenberg, agrees.

Oldenberg says, "The teachers are committed; they've put in quite a bit of extra summer time and very rigorous training."

And, at the Elk Mound school district, Walsh says minor projects and basic maintenance have kept them busy.

Walsh says, "This year we did our main high school parking lot, we recovered it and repainted it. We built a new storage shed behind the high school. Beyond that, we've done a lot of little maintenance issues.
So, a lot of little things, that add up to making everything ready to go for the school year."

And it's good news across the board, as all projects are set to be finished by the time school begins again in the fall.