Janesville52.4°

Public tours its 'cool' schools

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 12, 2009
— "How much of the school is air-conditioned now?" Tammy Hoium asked.

"All of it," replied Megan Muhs, one of the students guiding tours of Craig High School on Sunday.


"All of it?" the 1980 graduate asked.


"All of it," Muhs assured her.


"Wow, I would have killed for that," Hoium replied.


Parker and Craig High Schools now have fully air-conditioned buildings, thanks to the 2006 referendum, when a majority of voters said yes to borrowing more than $70 million to expand, remodel and upgrade the schools.


The projects were completed this summer.


Several dozen people took tours of the newly expanded and remodeled schools Sunday.


Air conditioning, a contentious issue during the referendum, also came up at Parker. Parker teacher Kanter-Braem recalled a student passing out on a 90-degree day in May.


Braem spoke at a dedication ceremony about the need to take care of students' basic needs before they could be ready to learn, something she said the renovations did.


"We're thrilled for the students and all the kids who will have years and years and years and years of enjoying the classrooms, the facilities, the science areas, the labs, they just look incredible," Kanter-Braem said.


Craig teacher Colleen Neumann had a similar thought in a speech across town: "Long after I retire—indeed, long after the very youngest teacher on this staff retires—this building will still be here, doing what it was intended to do, giving our community's young people the start that they need to become productive citizens."


"It's absolutely amazing. It's awesome," said Tori Hoium, Tammy's daughter and a 2006 Craig grad, as she surveyed Craig's cavernous lunchroom.


"It seems like a more inviting space that kids would like to eat and stay in rather than, 'I want to get the heck out of here,'" said Tammy Hoium.


"I wish they would have had that when I was here. It would have been fun," agreed Krysta Veley, another 2006 grad.


Kim Millard, a 1989 Parker grad, was equally impressed with her old school.


The only thing the school lacks is "A GPS system to get around," Millard joked.


Courtney Francis, 2006 Parker graduate, said the experience of seeing the old melded with the new was "weird."


"I like how the art rooms are bigger and you don't have to fight for stuff," Francis said. "In a way, it kind of makes you want to come back."


Coin sees light of day after 42 years

Parker High School popped open a box of history last week and shared the contents with the public at its open house Sunday.


A time capsule was recovered from behind Parker's 1967 date stone during the recent renovations.


Perhaps the most interesting item inside the metal box was a 1922 silver dollar. A note with the coin explained that the president of the board of education had flipped it to decide which high school would be Parker and which Craig.


"So we could have been the Craig Vikings," said Parker Principal Steve Schroeder.


The coin and other items in the box, including a 1967 Parker pen that still works, are in a display case at the school.


The items will be placed inside a new time capsule, along with some modern additions, that will be stashed behind the 2009 date stone near the school's entrance later this month.



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