Shawnee School District's summer improvement projects complete - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Shawnee School District's summer improvement projects complete

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WOLF LAKE, Ill. -- $250,000 worth of summer improvement projects at Shawnee high school and junior high are finally complete. 

Superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill says, each summer, for the past seven years, renovations have been made to the district's school buildings, "We want to create this warm, inviting atmosphere for our students to learn. The more that we improve upon that, the better it is for them." 

One of the finished projects on this year's list is the staff conference room. Clover-Hill says changes include repainting the walls and replacing the asbestos carpet with linoleum and hardwood flooring. 

Students at the Junior High will notice updated bathrooms including sinks with an area where they can set their books, plus hands-free soap dispensers and motion-activated hand dryers. 

Clover-Hill says students submitted these requests for the bathrooms before summer break and are pleased with the outcome, "The junior high students are very excited about their new bathroom space." 

However, this year's biggest upgrade is the high school's science lab, which previously had few modifications since the 1950s. Crews completely gutted the room and installed new cabinets, flooring, tables, and lighting. They also put in lab essentials like a fume hood for chemicals and a cabinet for goggles.  

"We are so pleased there are no longer barriers to learning science at the high school level. We don’t have any problems with the room itself," Clover-Hill explains. "Everything works: gas, electricity, cold water, and now we have hot water too. So they (students) have all of the equipment that they need." 

Emily Richbourg, who has been teaching science at the high school for nine years, will be utilizing the lab, "There's more room for the kids to move around, for me to move around to make sure they're doing what they need to do." 

The upgrades will also allow Richbourg to give students more hands-on learning experiences. She says one of new features that will help her do this is the new high tech touchscreen flat panel display, "I've got microscopes that can hook straight into that, so we can see stuff on the big screen." 

All students and parents will have the opportunity to use the new science lab first-hand at Family Fun Night. Richbourg and the science club will conduct experiments in the new space to show parents on that evening. The event is set to take place on October 11 from 6 to 7 p.m.

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