Tuesday, October 20, 2015 by Eli Fisher
When students stepped into school on the first day of the school year a few weeks ago, they walked past a new security desk, one of several capital improvements at Saratoga Springs High School that took place over the summer.
“The security desk was part of a $3.2 million project to enhance security districtwide,” said the school district’s Director of Facilities and Operations Thomas Clark. The project also included such enhancements as the sliding window into the lobby airlock from the new desk and new security cameras.
Another improvement was a new entrance to the main student parking lot. The addition of this entrance removed several parking spaces from the Strip, the stretch of Blue Streak Boulevard that has additional student parking on the sides of the roadway. The old entrance to the lot now serves as an exit at all times.
“It was done to relieve some of the congestion at dismissal primarily,” Clark said of the new lot entrance.
Additionally, the track and tennis courts at the high school were resurfaced over the summer.
“They were totally resurfaced and [the track] was striped, and we changed the location of the steeplechase pit from one side of the track to the other side,” said Clark. He added that the steeplechase change aligned Saratoga’s track with those at other schools. The long jump, triple jump, and pole vault pits and runways were also redone.
The old track dated to about 2002 and was of similar material to the new one.
“We put new standards and new nets in for the tennis courts,” said Clark. Drainage work was also performed on the courts as part of the resurfacing.
“I love the new courts, they’re great,” said Saratoga tennis player Nayeli Selkis. “The ball bounces well on them and they have good traction.”
Above the lobby, another change took place on the second floor of the high school, where alcoves with extra lockers used to sit.
“We reconfigured those spaces for book storage on the second floor that’s more convenient for teachers,” said Clark, adding that the old book storage connected to the copy room near the Guidance Office was displaced by new copiers. The lockers that were taken out were used to replace older lockers in the G-wing.
Statistics provided by Pat Kenkel, typist for the 11th grade office, show that many of the school’s lockers are not being utilized, which Clark noted when discussing the book room project. This is the first year that upperclassmen have had to request lockers, while the approximately 560 freshmen continue to receive a locker automatically. Fewer than 13 students from each of the other three grades requested lockers, with only about five sophomores doing so.
However, more requests may come later in the year.
“There may be more requests as the weather gets colder and people want a place to store their jackets,” Kenkel said in an email.