Science students at Truman High School will have a more collaborative learning experience when school starts in the fall, thanks to the renovations underway this summer.
The building’s eight science classrooms are nearly original to when the building was first constructed in 1960, with outdated utilities and infrastructure, according to Salum Stutzer, facilities director for the Independence School District.
“With time and age … all of those essential pieces that are necessary for instruction needed to be revamped,” he said.
Stutzer explained the way subjects are being taught has changed in recent years, with a more collaborative approach being used. With this in mind while the crews demolished the classrooms down to the bare walls, including plumbing and electrical materials, the renovations focused on creating a space where students can work together.
“In today’s world … when you walk into office spaces or even classrooms, there’s a lot of collaboration between the students, because with collaboration you end up with innovation, which gives you an overall better product,” Stutzer said. “When the renovation team first entered the classrooms, they found them to not be conducive towards collaboration at all, so the layout of the classrooms was changed.”
For example, the chemistry classrooms now feature hexagon-shaped workstations, complete with gas and water, allowing students to gather more easily when working together.
Several quality-of-life improvements were made as well, Stutzer said.
“All of the science classrooms now have new modern amenities,” he said. “All of the infrastructure such as gasoline and plumbing all are now functional and we’ve added a ton of casework for storage.”
Additionally, the bio-med classrooms received dishwashers to more efficiently clean their equipment after use, and the chemistry classrooms were given polished concrete floors that can better handle spills typically found in a high school chemistry class. Teachers and students received new desks as well.
By bringing the science classrooms up to a modern level, Stutzer said all science teachers in the district will now be able to instruct using the same curriculum, giving teachers the tools to match and enhance what they’re teaching.
The total cost of the science classroom renovations is approximately $1.8 million, according to Stutzer, and the final numbers might come in a little under that. Stutzer said the reason the project was able to happen was because of savings from the $38 million bond project voters passed two years ago.
“With that savings, this was obviously an item that was on the list,” he said.