This past Monday, I had the opportunity to tour Van-Far Elementary School to observe the changes made to the building in the past two months.
After seeing the many upgrades with guidance on my visit from Van-Far Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hunter, I left the school with excitement for what the future holds for students coming to the building not only in 2016-2017 but for the next 50 years.
One of the very first things students and patrons will notice is the new double door entrance way featuring a locked door system.
This addition alone will do a lot in providing safety for the students, staff, and patrons of the district.
The former pod set-up is thankfully no more.
I’ll still never forget my first time in the school several years ago and I couldn’t get over the fact that while I was talking to one teacher in one pod, I could hear a movie in the next pod over.
I thought “how can these kids concentrate?”
I wondered how the kids would do when needing quiet for taking tests but struggling due to hearing conversations not too far away from them.
Now students have walled in classrooms with doors. They also have storage locations for their items. I predict the district may see a major improvement in grades this year and likely improvement on MAP test scores.
While sitting in these new classrooms, students will also enjoy the new Samsung air units installed.
The air quality gives Van-Far Elementary the feel of a brand new building.
Temperature appears to be easy to regulate and I was just impressed with how different the inside of that area feels when walking around.
A lot of carpet was also removed and replaced with tile flooring, giving the rooms a cleaner look.
While the project took longer then expected and the board even voted to push back the start of school by one week, I believe all of the work and changes will make an immediate impact on the Van-Far Elementary students.
The entire Vandalia-Farber community should take a sense of pride in what has been done to its elementary facility through this latest no-tax bond issue.
Legitimate concerns can be expressed for the amount of debt the district has taken on through two bond issues really close to one another.
While it is still a concern, I also think this last bond is well worth the money spent to take the district into its next 50 years serving area students and their families.
Lord willing, this debt will get paid off in time. Meanwhile, students and staff will be impacted immediately by these changes and I’m excited for what the future holds for the district.