Rebuilding The Nest: Woodrow’s Renovations

Emma Mitchem, Writer

For many years, students have uttered annoyances about what they wish to fix about school, from school lunches to parent drop-off lines in the morning. Well, students will be delighted to know that Woodrow Wilson High School is to undergo major changes in the next few years — an estimated $40 million worth of renovations.

In a recent interview with Superintendent of Raleigh County Schools David Price, he revealed that the Board of Education decided to renovate the four high schools in the county along with ACT (Academy of Careers and Technology). This was in part due to the issues we have been facing in our schools such as the problem with the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), as well as many other factors. The renovations are meant to preserve the quality of our schools and education. The Board is partnering with ZMM Architects & Engineers and ET Boggess Architect Inc. to make this project possible. They are using money from COVID-19 relief to fund these changes; the entire county will be undergoing $70 million worth of renovations.

A good chunk of the preliminary renovations will be done by the time students return to school in Fall 2022, according to Price. Over the summer, the plot of grass in front of the school is to be excavated to help create a draining system to prevent run off by replacing the waterlines. Fresh and fun science renovations will be coming to our school as well. Think back to the time of dissecting frogs — now consider the possibility of a virtual dissection at the ease of your fingertips. Woodrow Wilson High School will be getting their very own “Grow Room,” where students can learn about plants. WWHS will also be getting 3D Anatomy tables from Anatomage that will allow students to inspect and learn about various parts of the body in humans as well as animals.

The elephant in the room for these changes is the traffic flow problems in the morning and after school with the parent drop-off and pick-up, as well as student drivers. The preliminary renovations include a new parking plan that has a student parking lot around the back, near where the current baseball field is found. The current student parking lot will stay in its location, but the tennis courts will be removed and moved to where E Building is currently in order to make room for a new sports coliseum. There will be many places to park with new entrances into the school to cut down on traffic jams. The renovation will take place in four phases and it will take roughly 4-5 years beginning in the Summer of 2022.

“Traffic flow is still going to be backed up while we work on these renovations, but students should take their time and be patient,” said Price, “it is going to be worth it in the end with what is to come within the next few years.”

Another major controversy with the renovation is on the topic of what will happen to the E-Wing Building, as many know, it will cease to exist before too long. However, these changes will benefit the school’s Fine Arts Department which will receive its own hall connecting to the gym, including an easy access port for band trailers. This will also give the band (and other Performing Arts groups that participate in the football games) easier access to the field.

New safety features planned as part of the renovations include new shatter-proof and bulletproof windows and a bigger cafeteria to accommodate more people at lunches. With the construction of a new addition onto the front of the school, there will be a new secure entrance for students and a new administration area. The renovation plan also includes a new handicap-accessible parking lot at the auditorium that is closer to the auditorium lobby doors. Another addition that will benefit public safety is a new Access Health clinic for individuals to receive medical attention.

Renovations to the existing building will also include new guidance and special education areas, an automatic sprinkler system in the entire building, and a replacement of the HVAC system in the central building., adding to the. list of upgrades affecting the students, teachers and administrators. It has been said that by the end of the renovation project in a few years, the public will not even be able to recognize the school.