Breaking ground on the future

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The Winters School Board brought out the ceremonial golden shovels on Thursday, Sept. 7, and broke ground on the Career Tech Center at Winters High School. This is the first phase of a $17 million development project, paid for by the money raised in bonds due to Measure R.

Winters High School will be getting the new state of the art technology center in fall of 2018. The Grant Avenue face of the high school, which was once a rolling lawn and a cracked asphalt road, will become the 9,000 square foot Career Tech Center.

Two of the tall redwood trees that stood on that end of campus had to be removed, but the wood was set aside for the school board members to decide how they might use it in the school’s rejuvenation project.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, school board members, teachers, students and members of the community came together on the Winters High School campus to celebrate the beginning of the construction of a $6 million classroom wing. The Career Tech Center is only the first of many innovations that the high school will see in the coming years. Superintendent Todd Cutler gave a short speech about the classrooms where future Winters High School students will learn.

“This facility is about college and career readiness,” Cutler said as he addressed the crowd that gathered by the construction site. He went on to explain that the classrooms will be dedicated to educating students with relevant vocational skills, and meet the needs of today’s students who will need to be versatile learners that are technologically literate in order to be competitive in tomorrow’s job market.

BCA Architects, the architecture firm that has been working with this development since 2014, works mostly with California schools in rural areas. They provided two posters for people to view after the ceremony. A poster showing the Career Tech Center’s floor plan also showed simulations of what the classrooms might look like.

The Career Tech Center will have four large classrooms, with several rooms for storage and a hallway down the center. The floor plan indicated that this hallway could be used as a gallery for the students’ work.

Of the four classrooms, the dedicated science lab is the only one with a fairly traditional layout. The lab will have space for rows of desks where students can listen to lectures and take notes from an instructor. In addition to those desks, there will be large tables where students can conduct hands-on experiments.

New technology inspires new classrooms and teaching methods, so the other three labs look far less traditional. The culinary lab will have a long metal table down the center with three large cooking stations against the wall. The makers’ lab has large rectangular tables where students can work on collective or individual projects in the center.

Of all these classrooms, the digital playground will probably be the most modern looking. The computer stations are scattered about the room, all facing different directions. Students will be able to listen to instruction and work on digital projects without visual distraction.

BCA provided another poster showing the potential layout of the Winters High School campus in several years’ time. Students, teachers and city council members gathered to look at and comment on the posters. There was much shared excitement as people talked amongst themselves about Winters High School’s future.

Phase two

The Career Tech Center is only the beginning of the innovations that Winters High School will see in the coming years. Phase two of the development will include a few more immediate changes to the campus, as well as some updates to current classrooms.

The school district’s plans for the near future involve converting the building that currently houses the weight training room into two new music classrooms. The building that holds the art, ceramics and music classrooms will be converted into a student union and cafeteria. There are also plans for another building with six classrooms to be added.

The next stage of development will include updates to the school’s largest athletic facilities. The football stadium, which sees so many visitors on Friday nights in the fall, would receive new bleachers and lights. The current crushed granite running track would be updated to become a six-lane, synthetic, all-weather surface track. These potential updates to the athletic facilities are dependent on funding.

Even these changes are only a small fraction of the new developments that the school board hopes to implement. In the future. Winters residents will be able to vote on measures introducing new classrooms, an updated weight room and physical education facility, a performing arts center, a softball field and even a satellite Solano Community College campus.

Superintendent Cutler is excited for the district’s plans, and says he is confident that the Winters community will continue to support students and look forward to future innovations.

When finished, the Career Tech Center at Winters High School is expected to look like this. It is situated on Grant Avenue, just east of the existing main building. Graphic courtesy of BCA Architects
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