“I knew that people would be concerned about the athletic facilities, but you’ve got to look at the total package,” Hanks said. “A lot of these things go hand in hand.”
Hanks used the example of building a new softball/baseball complex and other athletic facilities, which would benefit various groups as well as help the district maintain safety and security.
With the baseball field and Roo Stadium located off South Main, and a softball field next to Hall Middle School, Hanks said keeping the athletic facilities, as well as other program centers, together on one property would provide more security while alleviating trips back and forth between campuses and fields.
Currently, daily shuttles run daily from the high school to the Ninth Grace Center, equaling about 432 student trips. Annually, there are 75,600 students trips back and forth, which amount to more than 6,000 hours of lost instruction, according to district data. Additionally, around 120 students drive their own vehicles daily, increasing the safety concern, for more than 21,000 trips per year.
“We want a comprehensive high school that’s self-contained, so that students won’t have to leave the campus for any activity: band, career and technology, etc.,” Hanks said. “That will help provide a safer environment for our students.”
Technology changes and revamps will also be part of the process, with a cost attached of almost $11 million.
“Harry Jones, our chief technology officer, said that 80 percent of our current desktops were purchased with 1999 bond money, and the technology department has done a stellar job of keeping our equipment functioning throughout the years,” Derik Moore, WISD director of communication, said.
Part of the revamp will be equipping classrooms with interactive white boards, as opposed to dry erase and chalk boards.
“It’s a proven fact that when students are engaged, they will learn more,” Hanks said. “Right now, only 40 out of our 500 or so rooms have the digital white boards.”