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Jefferson High School tour reveals new-look band room

October 30, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Renovations at Jefferson High School were unveiled to the public Sunday during a special sneak peek hosted by Jefferson County Schools officials and high school personnel.

The work includes a new band room which opened last Wednesday, said Gail Woods, public relations specialist for Jefferson County Schools, and the school's new media center will be finished by Thanksgiving, she said.

The renovation cost is estimated at $15.3 million, said Principal Howard Guth, and construction has been going very smoothly. He said the new media center will open in early December.

A new gym, which will hold 2,000 people and should be available in the spring, is being built. "They just poured the floor," Guth said.

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The old gym will be gutted and be used for dance and jazz classes, a weight room and a small auxiliary gym, Guth said.

Woods said the original high school building opened in 1972 and was designed for 900 students.

The high school has 1,700 students in grades 10 through 12. The 700 ninth-grade students are in a separate building across the street, she said.

"Jefferson High School is the largest high school in West Virginia, based on student population," Woods said, with 2,400 students in both buildings.

Tim Fisher, a high school senior and one of the Junior U.S. Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) members guiding visitors around the building, said what he likes about the new band room is the space displaying all the trophies won over the years.

Fisher said he plays the fiddle and will take classes in the band room next semester.

Fisher said even though the media center is not open, there are two existing computer labs for research and one computer lab classroom available for student use.

Woods said another computer lab is ready, but is waiting for the computers. Each of the labs and the lab classroom have 30 seats, and the media center also will have 30 seats, she said.

Woods said, "Since 1972, we have added 20 classrooms over the years, and we have added various other working areas like labs, but this is an unbelievable addition."

"It's great and looks entirely different than the early building," she said.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent R. Steven Nichols, said, "There is an ease of moving through the building" and the "face lift" adds light and color.

Brittany James and Sarah Staubs, both 10th-graders at the high school, are color guard band members and said they like the new band room.

"It's really nice and it's the tallest I've been in," James said.

"The music is not as loud outside the room," because it is acoustically sound, Staubs said, "and we don't have to live out of the closet to store our equipment."

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