By Sarah Phillips
Dartmouth High School has been an important stepping stone for many Dartmouthians. Since it was built in 1959, there have been many renovations; but no project has been as extensive as this one.
To actually get money to start renovations is in itself a very lengthy process. The school put in a report to the HRSB in 2000, stating that they should revisit the school because of its age. At that time the school was 41 years old and although there were some renovations in 1995, it still needed major repairs.
For the next several years DHS volleyed back and forth with HRSB and the province to get the funds. Finally, following Mme. Monard's arrival as principal, we were approved for over 11 million dollars.
According to Mme. Monard the construction hasn’t negatively affected students. “Actually, we have had the most success with student achievement since the renovations began," she says. "Students are taking more pride in their school and maximizing use of the new spaces.”
While some students agree that they are using the new space to their advantage, others believe that the renovations have affected their learning. “They were hammering or something downstairs and we couldn’t hear our teacher," says a French immersion student. "We had to leave the classroom and be taught somewhere else.”
There seems to be a theme of concerns regarding our new library. “Why would they put it next to the band room? They say it's soundproof but I can still hear [the band] playing.” This student is also frustrated with the lack of learning resources supplied to the library. “I can never find a computer to use. They only have, like, six and they hog all the laptops. Who thought it was okay to make a new gym before making sure we had enough computers?” Other students, too, have wondered if the aesthetics of the school are more important than their education.
Why do students have such a negative outlook on the renovations? Could it be that they aren’t well informed? Short of interviewing the principal the only answers I could get are from our school website, under SAC/timeline. This timeline has a wealth of knowledge regarding the renovation process, up until 2008. Even though it is not updated, it still has some great facts about the renovations that students would love to know.
But do they know about this information? Of fifteen people asked, the answer is clearly no. Students are genuinely interested in the timeline, though, and would like it updated to include current renovations. This timeline would be a great way to keep the community informed about the renovations as well.
According to Madame Monard, renovations could be completed by the end of this school year.