The Big 10 with Jeff D'Alessio, July 6, 2014
Lest anyone think roughing it is just a Champaign Unit 4 thing, we asked area educators: What's the most outdated, dilapidated, should-have-been-fixed-ages-ago feature of your school?
Principal, Oakwood High
"While I love the historical aspects of our Depression-era gym, I would love for our kids and coaches to be able to have a newer facility to call home. I always enjoy the looks of the players when they walk into our gym for the first time. They look like they are walking into a time warp."
Principal, Champaign's St. Matthew School
"The fact that a custodian stood in my office and told me he had replaced every part possible on one of the toilets — and there was nothing else he could do — helped my decision to renovate our bathrooms. I am so excited about this that at a recent gathering I shared pictures on my phone of the old toilets being hauled out in a wheelbarrow."
Superintendent, Armstrong Township High
"The old bus barn at Armstrong High School was too small to hold a bus, but it did house driver's ed vans, an old 1938 Buick, lumber and lawn tractors, along with chickens, goats and, for a short time, a pig. The agriculture classes at Armstrong made good use of the old 'bus' barn, but it never really held any buses."
Principal, Tuscola's East Prairie Middle School
"It's the headache-inducing name. In 1969, the building was constructed to house all sixth-, seventh- and-eighth graders. The school was named East Prairie Elementary School, though we are not an elementary. Today, we house grades 5-8, and bearing the name 'elementary' on the building has caused all sorts of confusion.
"Our elementary school is in a separate location and we frequently have out-of-town visitors show up here for events because our building has 'elementary' on the outside. We are in the process of correcting this problem with new building signage that correctly bares the name East Prairie Middle School."
Principal, Georgetown-Ridge Farm High
"I was reminded Monday: During heavy rainfalls, 'Lake Buffalo' is formed in the back section of our parking lot. In some places, it can be shin deep."
Principal, St. Joseph-Ogden High
"Two years ago, our bells went out and the cost to replace the entire system was too much money for our budget. Therefore, our bells aren't synced with our clocks, but we adapted.
"Now, the clock system is dying as well. Many clocks are on different times throughout the building. We joke that you change time zones in our building just going from one end to the other."
Principal, Champaign's St. John Lutheran School
"Without a doubt, the most frustrating part of our building was having an art room with no sink in it. Doesn't seem at first like that big of a deal, but our kids had to walk down the hall with charcoal all over their hands to the bathroom to wash up, leaving a handprint, or two, or three, on the walls on their way.
"Our teachers had to pile all the used paint pots and brushes on a cart and take them upstairs to clean up after classes."
Principal, Heritage High
"Our copier seems to stop working every year around finals, leaving our teachers frantically trying to get tests run off."
Principal, Danville High
"There is a set of double doors outside the gym that connects the original part of DHS to the 1992 addition. Every day when the bell rings for passing period, hundreds of students go either way through the double doors, creating a huge bottleneck.
"We try to release classes in the 1992 addition about a minute early each period to try to alleviate the congestion, but even so it is tight with hundreds of students trying to fit through the same set of double doors."
Principal, GCMS Elementary School
"Our school was built when the open concept was popular. Many of the rooms in the elementary school do not have doors or permanent walls, and this has obviously been a problem for many years.
"During my first year as principal, I remember sitting in a room next to the bathroom and hearing talking — and flushing — and wondering how on earth kids could learn anything in this environment. The kids acted like it was no big deal, but I was floored by the amount of noise that they had to ignore."
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