San Marin updates facilities

by Caroline Baetkey, editor

As San Marin’s staff and students adapt to various new programs, like Global Academy and STEM, its campus is also being set for change through both renovations and new facilities. Due to “population growth, increased interest in STEM-related programs, and interest from staff and students for different space,” as stated by Principal Adam Littlefield, a new set of buildings will be seen on campus next year. A group of the school’s older, less functional buildings will also be renovated. Littlefield said, “The buildings renovated will [be] the three portable buildings on the south side of the library…the 700 wing will be renovated, and there will be three portables located on the outside blacktop area near the snack bar. We will also make one of the existing science classrooms into a chemistry lab.”  The three existing portables mentioned will be revamped as biology classrooms.

A noticeable theme through all of these updates is that most are science-centric. STEM teacher Mr. Nick Williams explained, “We’ve currently got all of the science classrooms overscheduled as we add more science students.” Regarding the currently lacking portables, Williams said, “We’ll be adding a solid-surface floor instead of carpets, putting in lab benches, sinks, and cabinets to make them function like the science rooms in the 200 building.” Williams also mentioned that the 700 building is being redone by taking out the folding walls and replacing them with soundproof walls. “The large middle section will turn into a ‘Makers Space’ which will have space for a wood shop to construct as well as space for 3D printing, laser cutting, and Computer Aided Design,” he said. Littlefield added, “The Makers Space…will have standard shop power work tools, hand tools…and a variety of other tools. The space will be used for building projects and other project-based learning activities.” The Makers Space is hoped to be a place for students to explore engineering and construction for themselves, offering new ways to go about school assignments. “The other classrooms in the 700 building will also be soundproofed and some will have windows into the Makers Space so you could work on computer design in one of the adjoining classrooms before going to build your design in the Makers Space,” Williams stated.

Williams is also involved in his STEM class’s construction of an outdoor classroom, yet another space for students to utilize in the near future. He stated,“The outdoor classroom is not related to the district-based renovations, but rather a project of the 9th grade physics and engineering class…students are designing an outdoor class space that could be comfortable and usable in all seasons for our campus.” Recently, a survey was conducted in some classes, requesting student opinion on what type of space should be designed and for what purpose; Williams mentioned that there would also be experimental results taken into account for their final decisions. “In March, one design will be selected by a panel of students, teachers, contractors, and engineers, and we’ll build that design on campus. Hopefully, the whole project will be done by May so we can begin using it at the end of this school year,” Williams said.

As far as input from the community on the district-facilitated alterations, a meeting was held on January 27th to “provide an overview of how education is changing, and…allow for the site community to provide input and prioritize their site needs.” Another meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 30th in San Marin’s library to review all of the facility suggestions that have been made so far.