Changes to greet NHS students

Work continued on the Naugatuck High School renovation project this month. –LUKE MARSHALL
Work continued on the Naugatuck High School renovation project this month. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Changes await Naugatuck High School students when they head back to school Wednesday.

The majority of the changes come as part of the $81 million high school renovation project that began in April 2013. The project is expected to be complete by autumn of 2015.

In a letter sent to students, Naugatuck High School Principal Jan Saam said the final side of the South wing, which used to be known as Castle, is now up and running. The bottom floor will house the counseling suite, attendance office, security and the deans’ offices. Math classrooms are on the second floor.

The even side of Judd is currently under renovation and is closed off to students. Those classrooms have been assigned temporary rooms.

Incoming sophomores, juniors and seniors who had lockers in the even side of Judd will be given new locker assignments in their homerooms.

The odd side of Judd has been abated and will be operational, Saam said in her letter.

“Those classrooms are clean and safe although slightly unattractive with only concrete floors,” Saam said.

The resource center will remain open, but will be smaller due to the placement of temporary classrooms in the center.

“In the end, the resource center will be large and remodeled once the temporary classrooms are no longer needed,” Saam said.

The auditorium will be closed until March. The band will temporarily be housed in the multipurpose room above the gym. When the auditorium does reopen it will be completely remodeled, Saam said.

Saam said the gym lobby is nearing completion and will have a concession stand, ticket booth and café area. The main gym will be closed until the end of October due to ongoing work, she said.

Despite the ongoing renovations, Saam assured students the school would be ready for them on their first day.

“I want to reassure everyone that we will be ready to open on Sept. 3, and courses and programs will not be affected although some classes may be held in a temporary classroom space. All temporary classrooms have been outfitted with a presentation set-up and communication access; educational and safety concerns have been addressed,” Saam said.

Saam pointed out the renovation work is not the only changes students will notice.

There will be a number of new faces at the school, which had seven staff members retire, two resign and one take a leave of absence, Saam said.

The school will also employ its new automated attendance call system, known as PowerSchool, this year. PowerSchool will automatically call every parent or guardian at about 10 a.m. if students were not in homeroom, Saam said.

“We believe it is very important for students to be in school every day, and we want to be sure parents and guardians are aware when the student is not present,” Saam said.

The system will also call at 6 p.m. if a student showed up to school but did not attend one of his or her classes.

Saam is looking forward to the students returning to school.

“I am very excited to begin another school year. It will be good to fill these empty summer halls with sounds and sights of returning students and the new faces of freshmen and transfer students. I am confident this year will be just as exciting and rewarding,” Saam said.