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The West Press

The West Press

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What Lakota NEEDS to Add in the NEW East + West High Schools

From a better theatre to a pool for the swim team, let’s figure out what Lakota’s potential new high schools could add for their students and staff.
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Earlier this year, the Lakota School Board approved a new Master Facilities Plan that would include a price of over 500 million dollars going into destroying older schools, renovating aging schools, and creating some new schools. Among these proposed new buildings are new high school campuses for East and West. The current high schools would become the singular middle school for each side of Lakota, so what will these potential new high schools do to improve upon what students have now? What could Lakota include in these new high schools to expand the student experience, or correct the things they haven’t had in the past? 

 

One of the biggest flaws with the current high schools is the parking lots. While it gets the job done, different entrances should be better organized for pick-up and drop-off zones, while also having a more distinct entrance just for staff. Plus, there should be a better way to deal with after-school traffic, since it tends to build up in a giant, tangled clump of cars – with many of those cars containing newly-licensed drivers.

 

An additional parking/loading zone for the band trucks would also be beneficial to include in the back of the school. With Lakota’s music programs expanding each year, having a larger workspace would do wonders for the band and choir programs which are already on the rise.

 

While on the topic of being outside, it is important to address the football, soccer, and baseball fields. The new high schools should have lots of thought put into the layout of these fields: where they go, how large they are, and the general efficiency of getting in and out. Since East and West have a decent reputation to their names – mostly West with their unmatched Football team – building a larger stadium with a higher capacity could mean more events being held at Lakota Schools, more revenue earned, and improvement in practice time and audience reception. A big audience means more people to cheer on the football team as they continue to blow away any competition with ease! I don’t see any negatives in that, do you?

 

On a similar note, more fields could be used to let the marching band have a better practice experience. As they grow into one of the top programs in the country, more equipment and places to use for rehearsal would go a long way to make a bigger and better name for our district. Similarly, the tennis courts could also be expanded for better rehearsal space, though right now they are one of the few athletic locations that are taken “decent” care of.

 

Heading inside the high schools, it’s always a good thing to compare Lakota’s main campuses to others. Currently, the high schools have fairly compact halls that leave students squeezing past one another as they try to get to their classes. Open halls, with natural light, as a bonus, would go a long way in letting students be in a less stressful environment. Class sizes could also be expanded to give more breathing room. This could be further improved with a smaller student-to-teacher ratio in the classroom, but that’s a discussion for another time.

 

One way to make the halls feel less chaotic is by separating each grade into a section of the building. For example, Freshmen could be on the left side of the 1st floor, Sophomores on the left of the 2nd floor, Juniors on the right of the 2nd floor, and Seniors on the right side of the 1st floor. That way, students would feel less cluttered in their travels, especially knowing more of the students they see in the halls. The other half of the building could be separated into elective classes, with language classes, band and choir classes, as well as art classes all being in their respective sections. 

 

Finally, we need to look at the sections of the building that take up the most space: The Cafeteria, Tech Hub, Gyms (plural), and pool. Yes, you read the right: A Pool. While they don’t exist right now, many high schools that are the same size, or even smaller than West and East, have pools on their main campus. Even if it wasn’t the largest or best quality facility, having a practice space for the swim team would be a critical investment for more events to be held at the high schools. This could sit next to a potential combined Tech Hub and Theatre, which would be placed in their corner of the building. 

 

The Theatre would have a traditional “movie theater” entrance as they do now, but continuing down the hall would bring you into a large hub, giving access to student-controlled tech like green screens and VR headsets. The theatre would be an expanded size, perfect for modern musical performances and music performances by the bands and choirs during their concerts. 

 

Lakota’s Gym setup is structured well as of now, with the only complaint being the tunnels that go underneath the stands that lead to empty rooms. Could more be done down there?

 

Though Lakota’s hypothetical “new high schools” won’t open for many more years, current students have to wonder what we will miss out on with the expansion of Lakota’s facilities and quality of life changes. What do you think Lakota could introduce in new main campus blueprints? Do you think they will consider what students want differently, or will they just copy and paste what they have now with a new look?

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About the Writer
Thomas Price, Website Manager
Thomas Price is a second-year student in Journalism who has been heavily involved in The West Press over the last school year. He participates in many of Lakota’s extra-curricular and in-school programs, such as being a member of the Hope Squad, Junior Board, Lakota West Drumline, performer in the Marching Band, and a Percussionist in Symphonic Winds. As a creatively driven student, Thomas is also skilled in many technical areas, whether through the use of photography, video design, or media creation. Through The West Press, he focuses on writing local news and opinion articles, giving daily insight into the good and bad West has to offer to its students and staff.

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