Students will be shuffled in 2008 '09

Ashland High School and Bellview Elementary students face some shuffling during the 2008-2009 school year.

Construction will be in full force, requiring schools to find new classroom space for students and teachers. Bellview will experience the biggest change, most of the existing building will be demolished. All of the approximately 300 students will be relocated.

"If we had kept the students at Bellview, it would have doubled construction time," said construction project manager Gary DeCock.

Ashland Middle School is being considered as the primary place for relocation, with other schools as backup locations, according to Bellview principal Christine McCollom. The formal plan will be released in January.

"When you look at the value of what we're going to get in exchange, it makes it certainly worth it," McCollom said. We're going to work to make sure that all students stay together and make sure our school's culture stays intact for the year."

Jeff Schlecht, principal of Ashland High School, expressed the same feelings for the displacement of his students.

"It will be a hassle," he said. "Everybody's going to rise to the occasion, and think of the reward on the other side of it &

a brand-new, beautiful space."

Band, choir, orchestra and P.E. classes, which meet during every class period, will be affected by construction, Schlecht said. Ashland Middle School and Lincoln Elementary are being considered for instructional areas. The high school already uses the second floor of Lincoln for alternative education programs in the evening.

In addition to finding alternate instructional space, Schlecht said the district was looking for areas to hold indoor athletic competitions like volleyball and basketball that would still provide students with a home court feel.

Schlecht said he felt confident that a workable plan would be in place by the time relocation becomes necessary.

"It's August 2007 and we're really on top of it, already trying to understand what our needs will be," he said.

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