Why does Sugar-Salem need a new Junior High School?

Sugar-Salem School district is working hard to deliver excellent education.  Unfortunately, our buildings, particularly the size and age of our buildings, is starting to hold us back.  The Central Elementary, Kershaw Intermediate, and Sugar-Salem Jr. High Schools are at or above capacity. These schools are all over 50 years old with Sugar-Salem Jr High, the oldest facility, being built in 1954.  These older buildings were not designed for modern educational needs. By building a new Jr. High School, we will be able to accommodate this growth at the Jr. High as well as alleviate the growth of the other lower grade facilities.

The state of Idaho does not fund the construction or renovation of school buildings.  The local community bears the burden of infrastructure costs through levies and bonds.

This simple illustration shows us how far the technology of tractors has come in the last 65 years.  We can apply this same thinking to cars, skis, telephones, computers, or any other item we use regularly. Modern innovations and improvements help empower us to reach our full potential and for students, to become lifelong learners. How many of us still utilize items from 1954? Do they produce the equivalent end product?

As the student population maintains steady growth, the main issue with our current facilities is simply space.  As many have already seen, we have had to add a modular classroom at the Jr. High School. In addition to the lack of space, below you’ll find snapshots of some other issues at the Jr. High School.

The kitchen and cafeteria is located across the street.  The entire student body must cross the road to go to and from lunch.

Lunchtime must be staggered as the small space doesn’t accommodate the student population.  Also, this building was repurposed from a mechanic shop and the space is extremely loud.

Exterior picnic tables alleviate the crowdedness of the lunchroom.

Recently installed modular classroom will accommodate two classrooms.  More modulars would be needed if growth continues.

Because of the modular classrooms, this back door will be used as a point of exit and entry throughout the day.  This creates a greater security risk as it by-passes the single point of entry desired by the school administration.

While the school has been reconfigured to support a single point of entry, it is not a true secured entry.  The school secretary and administration are at risk in the current configuration.

The proximity of the Band/Choir Room to other functioning classrooms creates a disruption for the students and teachers in the adjacent classrooms.

The current band/choir room requires flooring renovations as the cleaning of wind instruments by the students soils the carpet and creates an unpleasant odor.

Many of the showerheads have been capped because the in-wall piping needs replacement to function properly.

There is a lack of storage for athletic equipment.

While the gym functions great for the Basketball and Cheer teams, the lack of auxiliary space does not provide for the championship wrestling program.

The library is being used during every period for classroom instruction and cannot function as a library.

Not only is there a lack of classrooms, the classrooms themselves are at capacity.

Only one of the science classrooms was actually designed for science instruction.

The number of functional skills students at the school is the highest it has ever been.  One classroom is not large enough to accommodate this group of students. Current classrooms were designed as typical classrooms and not specifically for those who function with learning challenges.

Built in 1954, the school was not designed for current technology needs. All technology must be retrofitted to work in each space.

The classrooms were designed with limited storage space for instructional materials and equipment.

The counselor’s office is accessed through the only conference room in the building.  Logistically this is challenging to not schedule meetings simultaneously and ultimately limits the functionality of both rooms.

Climate control is difficult due to the inefficient HVAC system that has been retrofitted in 60+ years.