By OLIVIA NOLAND and MIA PRICE, October 2017
One of the most rapidly developing areas of the Deer Park Community is currently the Amity school building. The editors of the Deer Parker recently had the chance to speak with the principal of Amity, Mr. Smiley, about the additions and renovations taking place at the school.
“We’re undergoing both a renovation and a new addition on the Amity project,” says Principal Smiley.
Mr. Smiley states that the construction crew already has plans for next summer, saying “They’ll complete any of the tear out that they need to do and then fully renovate the building so it’ll be completely new. Existing lockers will be changed to new lockers, or they’ll be created to be benches, work spaces; different areas for our students.”
Upon being asked about what challenges the Amity project poses, Mr. Smiley said “Honestly, I think minimal challenges except for the noise outside, which you get used to over time. I think the beginning of the year is just figuring out traffic flow on drop off and pick up. You know, I think we’re all adapting pretty well to it. We’ll be okay with a little dirt and dust for what we’re gonna get in the end.”
As for an estimated date for the project’s finish, the principal says “The plan is to open the 2018-2019 school year just as scheduled so the project will be completely done by next school year. The new construction will continue throughout the year, whereas the renovation can’t really happen until we’re out of the building. So literally the day we’re out of the building they start working on the interior renovations.”
When asked about how the project will support student learning, Mr.Smiley says “We’re gonna be able to have a lot more offerings than we did in terms of things like the steam lab that gets put in, for science and technology. I think having the extended learning areas will be great breakout areas for our kids. You walk around Amity, and it was built in 1906 . There’s never been a full renovation on the building. I think going through that, it’s gonna be a place where kids can be proud of when they come each day. I think the ac installed will be really good for us as well, just in terms of climate control in this building. It gets pretty hot and it makes some of those days when it’s in the 90s tough to learn, so that’ll be a huge plus for our students too. The other good thing, with our new gymnasium and stage area we’ll have seating now for 350 students which we’ve never had before, and then that still doesn’t include the court, so we could have additional seating there. Before, in the old gym, you could only do one practice at a time, and we had teams that some weeks didn’t even get to practice. We’ll be able to run double practices in the gym side to side now.” Principal Smiley also adds “Our PD space will also be used for board meetings, teacher meetings, activities after school. It will kind of become that area that any of our professional learning for our teachers and staff happen.”
Lastly, Mr. Smiley was asked to tell us about what part of the building will see the most change. After a short pause, he said “I think everything.” He adds, “You know, it’s tough to say. I will say that with the old portion and the new portion, they’ve done a really good job with joining the two, and kind of blending the feel and the style of the two. So, I think this whole building is gonna drastically look different.”
It sounds like the renovations and construction occurring on the Amity project will be a great addition to the Deer Park community!
Note: THE DEER PARKER EDITORIAL STAFF CONTRIBUTED TO THIS ARTICLE.