RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — School employees are racing against the clock to prepare for the first day of school. Since school officials decided to close down the Elkhardt Middle School building and combine it with Thompson Middle School, preparing for the first day has presented some unique challenges.
To make room for the additional students, the Thompson building has had a few modifications.
Elkhardt has a student population where English is not their primary language, so a special classroom was constructed for those students.
“So we built, we took a space that was a wing (in the library) put up the walls kept it still a little bit open, put a smart board in,” said Richmond Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Tommy Kranz.
Some ten classrooms that were either computer rooms, science labs and or a chorus room were also changed. Kranz said science lab tables will converted into desks for teachers.
“We’ll cut this off (the top of the science lab table) and cap it we’ll put a Formica top on top of this and they’ll have a desk will be the table, to remove all of these at ten of them was a pretty significant sum of money,” said Kranz.
Right now staff members are busy cleaning and waxing the floors. Some walls will also be painted and ceiling tiles damaged by water leaks will also be replaced.
The Assistant Superintendent explained that even throughout the school year even the air quality inside the school will be monitored.
“So this particular school because of the situation we had at Elkhardt with the mold and the environmental concerns this school a number of years ago had some water issues and it was tested, so to be proactive we’re doing the testing once a month and our testing is in certain specified areas we’ll do our indoor quality tests,” said Kranz.
Elkhardt-Thompson has 49-classrooms and 997-students. Kranz said he wants to make sure the students feel like they belong when school starts in September.
“We’re going to make it so when they walk in this building it’s not Thompson,” said Kranz. “It’s going to be Elkhardt–Thompson, it’s going to be a combination of the two schools. We don’t want the students from Thompson to feel like the students from Elkhart took over the building; we don’t’ want the students from Elkhardt feel they’re a visitor in the Thompson building.
“What we want is on that first day of school this building is inviting, and all of the students from Elkhart and Thompson come in here together and say this is my building this is my home it’s not one or the other, it’s all one, and that’s our goal.”