Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Going Green



Our new middle school is almost complete. It's a state-of-the-art "green school". It only cost the taxpayers $28 million! Well, we were in desperate need of repairs. The school, unfortunately, had not been kept up over the years, and now we finally have our new school. They will be utilizing as much natural outside light as possible. It has a clean air system. The roof collects the rainwater for flushing the toilets. The rain gauge for this can be seen when you walk in the lobby. It's a complete learning building. The ceiling is exposed, so you can see all the pipes and where everything is. It uses geothermal heating. Did you know what geothermal heating was when you were in middle school?

The school also recycled as much of the old materials as they could. The gym's beautiful wood floor was refinished. Many of the wooden doors were refinished and used again. The cafeteria now has more options for buying food. Instead of having two long lunch lines where your only choice was the full lunch menu, now there are different lunch counters where you can get exactly what you want, with healthier lunch options.

My husband and I actually went to this school when we were young. I didn't know him back then, though, because he was a year behind me. One of the worst parts was lunch. Many, many times the lunch lines were so long that the bell would ring to go to my next class, and I would just be walking back to the table with my lunch. All I could do was set my lunch on the table, shove a couple bites of food in my mouth, and dump the rest in the garbage (a good reason right there to home school).

There were many cons of this reconstruction. The cost - $28 million! Maybe it was needed. It's supposed to save the tax payers throughout the years. That just sounds like a lot of taxpayer money to pay now. The school is within walking distance to our house. It's part of the reason why we bought our house. My daughter and son could have been walking to school together this year, the last year they will be able to. My daughter got to experience the old building for sixth grade. Then for 7Th and this half of 8Th grade she was bused off to an old school in the city that starts an hour earlier. None of these kids are getting enough sleep. My son is now in 6Th grade and he is bused off to an elementary school (when he should be in the "big kid" middle school) and gets home at 4:00 (an hour later than he usually would). By the time he does his homework, it's time for dinner. He has very little free time. I also think about the exercise the kids aren't getting. A year and a half missed of walking to and home from school. My daughter's school now doesn't even have a library in it.

Also, the new school will be a pod system. I don't think I care for this idea. They even called it a "school within a school". Each grade is divided into two groups. Each group has it's own pod of classes. The kids just switch classes within their pod. If you have a friend on the other "team", you can only see them during lunch or possibly gym class. There's no hallway to walk down. I just remember when I was little. We'd meet our friends in the hall and say hi as we went to our next class. Also, the different grades eat with their own grade. How are the sixth graders ever going to get to know the eight graders? There's no togetherness. Even to leave the school, there's a exit in every pod.

Well the kids will go to this new school after the spring break. We're all very excited. My son is going to ride his bike to school! We will get a chance to see it at an open house the week before they get there. I will take some pictures of all the cool new "green" features and post them later.

20 comments:

Amy said...

this school sounds awesome! they are building a new highschool here for the tune of 120 million. sick, huh? it better be nice for that price. it's a case of politics at it's best!

Irene said...

I am approaching 41 and I still don't know what geothermal heating is!

The school sounds cool. I want to tour it!

I also remember being the last to get lunch and not being allowed to actually eat. (Like somehow, it was OUR fault.) God forbid, you took the time to shovel the food in and you were late to class, you would be in trouble. And we were so dumb back then we just accepted it. Crazy.

I don't know about that pod system either....sounds strange. Or maybe they are trying to give a large school the feeling that they are really in a small school with more individual attention.

Magirk said...

Interesting...

I was home schooled in my youth, so it's always interesting to me to see what happens in the public school arena.

Though it was a bit of trouble for you while it was in the making, I do hope it will be a good school for your children.

It sounds interesting!!

OHmommy said...

Finally... I am sure it feels like forever in your books. Riding a bike to school in Spring sounds divine. Enjoy!

Kitty said...

Sounds interesting! I like the sound of its 'green-ness' but not seeing their friends at lunchtimes and breaks (what you call 'recess') will be hard. :-( x

Becky said...

Wow...that's amazing they are building a school that uses rainwater for flushing toilets!

Karen said...

I love the 'green' ideas, but agree that sometimes change isn't always for the best. Maybe they'll revise things and let kids interact more.

Lizzy in the Burbs said...

Wow! That sounds like an amazing school! I'm not sure if I like the "pod" method, either, but who knows? Maybe your kids will love it! I'm sure they'll be happy to be back in their own digs vs. borrowing a school. Looking forward to seeing the photos of it, especially the rain gage, I've never heard of that system working with the plumbing, very interesting!

Lizzy

Zoe said...

how cool is that! never happen here in hicksville!

Bia said...

I think it would be so neat to be able to walk/ride a bike to school; I'm sure your kids are going to love going there.

God bless.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I LOVE the idea of a green school. It's sounds fantastic!

I don't know if it makes you feel any better, but I went to school in a "pod" for two years and really enjoyed it. There really is a sense of "group learning" that goes on and the openness of the classrooms is so much better than being enclosed in a small space. The only downside is that you do always have to be conscious of noise levels. Other than that, I like it.

Melissa said...

Wow, love the green options in the school. My daughter goes to a newly bult school that cost 15 million...hard to believe, huh? Can't wait to see the pictures!

Marie said...

Wow...sounds incredible...can't wait to see the pictures!

PS There's a little something waiting for you on my blog!

Dawn said...

Wow! That school sounds impressive. Your kids are lucky to go there although it's too bad they had to go through so much trouble while waiting for their new school. I can't wait to see the pictures.

Kila said...

Wow, the building itself sounds awesome!

I agree that there should be a little more interacting between the kids.

No hallways, and pods? That's new to me. I'm trying to picture what it's like.

Leah said...

It sounds very neat, and very exciting! The pod thing sounds weird, but I'm sure it will all work out in the end. I can't wait to hear what the kids think once they get into it...

Shellie said...

Although it has some cons, it sounds so cool! Hopefully it will save money in the long run too.

Amy said...

How great that they get a new school! I bet they're so excited, maybe they'll want to go..LOL

Vancouver real estate said...

It sounds like a joke...finally something environmental:) I am very pleased about geothermal heating. I have read it is new effective technology that moreover save money. Developers start to use it when building condos in Vancouver. Great, just follow this trend!

Jen said...

The green renovations sound really cool!

Beware of the pods. I've seen that explode in a very negative way with an "us vs. them" mentality. They tried it at the middle school in our old town, and there were some problems at the get go (the "blue" classrooms were much nicer than the "yellow" ones, and the "red" ones were just awful and had no windows because they were all interior walls) and the kids assimilated the attitudes about their personal worth based on what color they were assigned. It was like the old "blue eyes vs brown eyes" unethical classroom study all over again.