Jefferson Co. Schools off to 'smooth' start

August 30, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION


Despite ongoing renovations and continued crowded conditions, students made a smooth return to classes Monday on the first day of school in Jefferson County, school officials said.

At Jefferson High School, a $15.3 million renovation is under way and two of the front entrances are closed as part of the construction, Principal Sheri Hoff said.

A new band room and media center will be built at the front of the school along Flowing Springs Road, Hoff said.


The challenge Monday was getting to class on time given the situation, and it was a smooth process as older students helped their classmates get around, Hoff said.

School officials said Monday that enrollment is up in the school system and at Charles Town Middle School, parents who just moved into the area were enrolling their children at the guidance counselor's office.

"There was a line there pretty much all day long," Charles Town Middle School Principal Chuck Hampton said.

Hampton estimated the population at the High Street School Monday was about 850. That was an increase over last year, although Hampton said he was not sure by how much.

Hampton said he estimates that the school probably will end up with about 900 students, which will be manageable.

Charles Town Middle has 14 mobile classrooms, the same as last year, Hampton said.

Superintendent of Schools R. Steven Nichols said he visited all 14 schools and was surprised by how smoothly the day went. Students were in their classrooms working and it looked like they had just returned from a weekend instead of a summer break, Nichols said.

"Things just clicked right into place," Nichols said.

Some long lines were evident in cafeterias but those should shorten as lunch ticket operations get back into gear, Nichols said.

Problems with air conditioning occurred at schools such as T.A. Lowery Elementary School, but those are being addressed, Nichols said.

In some cases, buses did not arrive to pick up students and parents either took the students to school or they were picked up by another bus, Nichols said.

But those problems were small in number, Nichols said.

Although enrollment is up, Nichols said he did not have any solid numbers Monday.

Hoff estimated about 1,600 students were at Jefferson High School on Monday, about 100 more than last year.

Hoff said the population is manageable, although some students will have to be moved as the renovations to the school continue.

"It's the domino effect. They're here, so we'll manage," Hoff said.

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