by Susan O’Neill
KANELANDâ€”Seventh-grader Celena Slowick and her classmates can all have lunch together this year.
Slowick said that at Kaneland Middle School on Keslinger Road, each grade was split in two, with two separate lunch periods of 25 minutes apiece. The lines were long, and students had to rush through their meals.
The size of the cafeteria at the new Kaneland Harter Middle School allows the students in each grade to eat together at one time. With fewer groups, the students have a longer lunch period (about 40 minutes) to eat and catch up on the events of the day.
The school, on Harter Road in Sugar Grove, opened last month for the beginning of the fall semester, the result of a successful referendum in February 2007.
According to School District officials, the last time the enrollment and the capacity at the middle school were balanced was in 2002.
Since then, the population in the surrounding villages has grown, creating overcrowded conditions in the school. Nine mobile classrooms were added within the last 10 years to accommodate the numbers of students.
With the passage of the building bond referendum, the district was able to build a school that should last well into the future.
During seventh grade lunch period, Slowick and her classmates talked about the new school.
What is Taylor Vranicar’s assessment of the new school?
“It’s awesome,” she said.
Sarah Brouch said it is a lot bigger, and feels bright and open.
Jessica Poust said she is still learning where everything is, and how to get around.
“I never make it to my classes (on time),” she said.
Kaylee Ferrell said she especially likes the smart boards.
According to Tim Wolf, the district’s technology director, the digital white boards interact with a computer and a projector, allowing the teacher to project a web page on the screen, draw on top of it, and save it.
Another room where technology is used for the benefit of the students is in the wellness room, which looks like a state-of-the-art physical fitness center. Physical education teacher John Purnell, who was involved in selecting the equipment, introduced several students to the roomâ€™s features on Monday, demonstrating how the machines are adaptable for those with disabilities.
Seventh-grader Lauren Pence said the school library is comparable to a public library. She said she likes the openness of the school, and with so many windows, the school is nicer to be in.
“Everybody seems happier to come to school,” she said.