- Union County Public Schools
Larger cafeterias = fewer lunch periods = more instructional time
dollars will provide media center, cafeteria expansions
If voters approve the bond referendum, about $41 million will fund additions and renovations to six UCPS schools: Western Union Elementary; Monroe, Porter Ridge, Sun Valley and Piedmont high schools; and Porter Ridge Middle School.
Two schools (Porter Ridge Middle and Sun Valley High) will benefit from larger media centers, while three schools (Porter Ridge High, Sun Valley High and Western Union Elementary) will benefit from bigger cafeterias. Western Union's cafeteria is pictured below.
By making the cafeterias larger, principals will be able to reduce the number of lunch periods necessary to feed students. Porter Ridge High principal Dr. Bashawn Harris said reducing the lunch periods from four to three would result in more instructional time.
School nutrition manager Sherri Klingensmith looks forward to seeing students have more room to eat lunch at Porter Ridge High, (pictured above). “It’s pretty packed when they come in now. Lunchtime is kind of like a break-time. I would like for them to be able to enjoy that break rather than being all crammed in. If the students are happy, we’re happy.”
Porter Ridge Middle School principal Dr. Brian Patience said 15 new classrooms at his school would impact about 400 students. The middle school is also slated to have its media center enlarged.
Lori Duncan, the school’s media coordinator, said the current media center (pictured below) only has room for two classes at a time. “And we’re running out of book space. We need to have 10 books per student. We don’t have that and our shelves are already full.”
Raelynn Mills, an eighth grader at Porter Ridge Middle, says it’s difficult to use the media center when it’s overflowing with students.
“Sometimes I come in here and there will be a few classes and it gets pretty full and busy,”Raelynn said. “There are less computers and everyone is just everywhere taking up space. Sometimes I have to come down here with my class and there are not enough computers left, or there are people taking up the table space when you’re reading and doing your work. It gets pretty packed in here.”
Dr. Patience is counting on the Nov. 8 bond to pass so he can purchase more books for his students. “There is nothing more important than developing a student’s interest in reading, not just because it improves test scores, but it improves quality of living.”
Five schools (Monroe, Sun Valley and Piedmont high schools, Porter Ridge Middle and Western Union Elementary) will benefit from a total of about 10 new teacher workrooms, designed to give educators the space necessary for creating classroom teaching materials.
Built in 1960, Sun Valley High stands to gain the most dollars from the $54 million bond referendum. The $24 million earmarked for school renovations and additions will include funding for a new athletic stadium, replacing the 56-year-old existing stadium.
“This is my fifth decade of coaching in Union County,” Sun Valley High School Coach Tad Baucom said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes. I’ve seen a lot of growth – neighborhoods coming up, new schools coming up. Sun Valley High School is one of the few schools that’s been around forever. The stands of the athletic stadium are the last of the concrete monsters.”
For more information about the $54 million bond referendum, go to UCPS web site.
Posted: Oct. 12, 2016