WOLFE LAKE (WSIL) -- Students and staff will notice big changes at Shawnee High School when they return to classes next week. That's because they'll come back to $350,000 worth of improvements.
Over the past 8 years, Shawnee School District has been making summer improvements to its school buildings.
Superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill says, this year staff will be getting a long-over due upgrade to their bathrooms, "Unfortunately we had a crack in the ceiling last year, which led to the entire ceiling having to be removed because of safety concerns."
Crews started to work back in April, completely gutting out the bathrooms. Now, the bathrooms have a new ceiling, lighting, and air conditioning. They also have several modern accommodations like automatic soap dispensers, automatic faucets and automatic paper towel dispensers.
A new drinking fountain with a bottle-fill up sensor was also installed.
Meanwhile, high school students will be starting off the school year with a brand new art room.
Clover-Hill says the previous room hadn't had any real updates since the 1960s or 1970s.
State-of-the-art technology has already been installed into the room including a smart board and a kiln for pottery that can be controlled by a phone app.
"If she (art teacher) needs to turn something on over a weekend or turn it off, she can do that remotely from home," Clover-Hill explains.
The superintendent says these improvements will help students reach their full potential and make it easier for teachers to carry out their lesson plans.
"We are so excited, especially for our art lab because there will be no barrier to learning now," she remarks. "The students will have everything that they possibly need to learn art."
Clover-Hill adds that students helped pick out the cabinets, which are being installed, and design the room. She believes this gives students a greater sense of pride and responsibility.
Next year, school officials plan to renovate the gym lobby and locker rooms.
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