Time of change looms for junior high school
These may well be the last years for Quincy Junior High School.
With redistricting plans in place and a wave of construction already in motion within the Quincy School District, the school readies for three years that will see it become a middle school and move one block east to the current high school building.
“It’s exciting,” said longtime QJHS principal Scott Ramsey. “I know that getting down this road, the next two years are going to be challenging with the huge construction project going on here.”
Ramsey refers to the fact that in addition to all these changes, QJHS students and staff will work in a building that is slowly being converted into an elementary school, the district’s fifth.
The changes coming for QJHS may be challenging, but they are also necessary. The junior high building is old, Ramsey said.
“Our main wing of classrooms was built in the 1960s and has not been remodeled since,” he said. “The main part of the building was remodeled in the late 1980s, and it’s showing signs of age.”
The main part of the building is about 80 years old.
The junior high houses students in grades 7-8. With every elementary moving to K-5, students in grades 6-8 will attend the junior high, by then a middle school. The extra students could not fit in the current building, so a move is in order, Ramsey said.
“We are going to go from about 400 students to about 650 or possibly more,” Ramsey said. “We are going to need to be in a much larger facility.”
Ramsey said he believes his staff will adapt to the changes well. Every teacher will have his or her own portable classroom while the remodeling takes place.
“Staff were happy to know they will have their own classroom next year,” Ramsey said. “It may be in a portable, but they will have their own classroom. They will not have to be moving around on carts or switch classroom to classroom mid-year.”
In addition, nothing is being improvised, Ramsey said. There are and will be plans in place and that will make it a lot easier.
In 2017-2018, half of the building will be under construction, turning into an elementary school, with the cafeteria and the library moving to the gym.
“It’s going to be an adjustment for us, no doubt about it,” Ramsey said.
Physical education classes may have to take place outdoors or in other buildings.
“Any construction is a pain in the neck, but this is the way we have it planned out so far, and I’m pretty excited about it, I guess,” Ramsey said. The key, he said, is “to keep the end goal in mind.
“We are excited about the end goal, and we will get through this next year.”
After next year, the students will be in a remodeled building for one year.
“Yes, it will be an elementary, but it will be new,” Ramsey said. “So we will get a brand-new building to live in for a year before moving to the high school.”
Lastly, he praised his staff for their positive attitude in the face of all these changes.
“They want to keep focused on our educational mission,” he said, before adding, “It’s going to be an interesting year.”
Sebastian Moraga, email@example.com