New Construction, Changes in Operations Highlight Beginning of HMS Year

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Construction workers lay concrete as they near completion of the new bus lanes in front of Helper Middle School.

Carbon School District Press Release

Construction in and around Helper Middle School greeted students as they came back to campus on Aug. 19. For years, the school buses have pulled up on Uintah Street in front of the building, often blocking traffic, particularly when a lot of vehicles were parked along it. Now, with the new construction, the buses will have their own lane to pull into.

The recent announcement concerning changes to the ongoing remodel of the school building itself has been received by almost all as a welcome message. That plan, being a rebuild of the main part of the building in a different configuration from what was originally put out last year, shows favor among many. Also, new and more detailed plans are being generated as the ideas for the remodeling moves along.

“As we do this, we are getting different versions of how it will be laid out by the architect,” explained Principal Robert Bradley. “I like a lot of what I see, but we also need to get the school’s staff to comment on what is being drawn up before the construction itself begins.”

But, a school isn’t about construction or capital expenditures; it is about educating students, and that goes on despite all the new construction activity around the building.

The challenge for all schools this year has been the pandemic, and Helper Middle School has risen to the challenge. Students are going to class and, even with masks on, the instruction is moving along.

“This is a seminal moment for education,” said Bradley. “The idea of school only being a brick and mortar building, that line is starting to blur. We are learning so many new aspects about how we can do things. There is a lot of amazing technology that has been in process for many years with only a handful of teachers taking advantage of it. But, there hasn’t been the need to push general instruction into using it. Realistically, if people are teaching the way our age group used to learn in school, they are missing some opportunities. Rather than just learning facts, education is shifting toward the process of knowledge gathering and evaluation, forming opinions and arguments.”

The restrictions concerning group gatherings and social distancing has affected how the school operates. That has been a problem for many school activities.

“It’s sad because other than the opening assembly we had, in which we practiced social distancing, we haven’t really been able to have any other large gatherings,” stated Bradley. “However, we have been lucky in that we are still having sports, which also has its own requirements to keep things as sanitary as possible. Because of all that, there aren’t really any clubs that are happening just yet. We are still working out how to make some of the normal activities happen.”

Bradley said the big construction on the building will probably begin in the spring of 2021.

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