By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Newkirk Public Schools is out for summer break, but there is still a lot of activity at the three facilities, from applying new coats of paint to rewaxing classroom floors. There are plenty of other refurbishment activities occurring across campus, as school leaders seek to upgrade the facility for the upcoming school year.
Refurbishment projects began before the school year ended, when cranes were seen lifting heating and air conditioning units onto the roofs of Newkirk Middle School and Newkirk Elementary School.
The gym floor in Mark Branch Fieldhouse has been removed due to water damage from the February blizzard, which broke water pipes in the facility and ultimately buckled the wood floor.
The gym will be ready for play in a few weeks.
“(Last week), we finished the floor at Mark Branch Fieldhouse, and we should be able to start using it by the 21st,” NPS Superintendent Scott Kempenich said.
The NMS gym floor will also be replaced due to high activity, including from cheer as well as NMS physical education activities.
As for the new gym, a few projects are planned that weren’t initially finished, including having the ability to lift the main goals to the ceiling for special events.
“We’re also getting new pads on the north and south sides of the gym, which will make it look better, and make it safer for our athletes,” he said.
New flooring is also going to be placed in NES and NMS, which will ultimately replace all flooring in the schools.
“We had had new flooring put in NMS and NES with the Early Childhood Center already, so we’re replacing flooring in the bathrooms so all flooring will be new,” he said.
New cabinets were installed in classrooms at NES with the ECC, except for one hallway, so new ones will be installed in both NES and NMS.
“NES had new cabinets with the ECC construction, except the east wing,” Kempenich said. “We’re replacing the east wing cabinets with new one so they’ll all match.”
Student safety will be increased with the addition of several new security cameras, filling visual gaps in the system.
“We have a few spots that don’t have a camera, so we’re looking at the system district-wide,” he said.
Classroom education itself is changing, as new “smart screens” are being placed in classrooms, replacing older projectors, which are needing more maintenance, such as light bulbs, which ultimately costs the school district money.
Kempenich believes these projects are not only important for NPS, but will make the school district a better place, both for students as well as the community, a campus everyone can be proud of.
“This is a huge thing getting all these items completed,” Kempenich said. “Having classrooms that have nice cabinets, nice flooring, is great for the kids, and the community. It shows we take pride in our school system.”