Building the Burg

An update on the construction at Laingsburg High School.

Grant Goetschy, News Editor

Over the last several months, Laingsburg High School has undergone many radical changes. Although many new additions have been etched into the skyline of the building, the new facilities have yet to prove their worth. Many faculty members and students have high hopes for the new opportunities provided by the renovations.

Beginning in the spring of 2021, construction began on the high school. The project continued through the summer and is now coming to a close as only a few spaces are left to complete. The process consisted of both additions to the building and renovations of the existing structure.

“Additions onto the building, specifically for square footage, would have been the auditorium, you know the six hundred and fifty seat auditorium, and the auxiliary gym which will only seat about one hundred and fifty people, but it’s a full-size floor,” Brandon Woodworth, principal of Laingsburg High School said.

These wholly new spaces will greatly impact student and community life around the school, but the changes to the original building are also very significant.

“[We] add[ed] room into the band room for the band students and then the wrestling room, and we are now able to have a space for our wrestlers, who, if you ask any of them that have been around a while, they’ll probably have had three or four different locations where they’ve been wrestling. So, it’s another program that’s coming along and deserves their own space,” Woodworth said.

Another program at Laingsburg High School that is coming into its own as a leader in the state is the drama program. Head of the program, Dr. Jennifer Strickland, believes the new auditorium will be a drastic improvement from the stage off of the cafeteria that the program previously used.

“The previous stage was smaller than what a normal stage in an auditorium would be, so it limited the size of our sets. Which was fine when we were here at our school, but when we went to a competition, our sets always looked very small. But we couldn’t make them bigger because they wouldn’t fit on our stage,” Strickland said. “And we were also limited tech-wise, by what we could do in there. This new building opens up both of those possibilities as far as it’s definitely the size that a stage should be, it has the tech that’s necessary.”

Strickland is also enthusiastic about the opportunities that the new space provides.

“It is huge just being able to be in that space, especially here at the beginning, and to show what can be done in there. I’m super excited to work with the students to really bring things that haven’t been done before to our community, and I think this space allows us to do that,” Strickland said.

This excitement is also shared by student director and choreographer, Claire Sanderlin.

“This program does mean a lot to me and so I’m very excited that we’re going to be able to have new opportunities, and the younger people will be able to have more opportunities and perform bigger plays, and be able to have the experience of hosting a competition potentially. So I’m just excited that I’ll be able to experience it for a year and that all the new kids will be able to have something that we didn’t have before,” Sanderlin said.

Although the drama program is eager to prove the value of the auditorium, the band program is equally zealous in its hopes for the expanded band room. Brandon Woodworth considers the sheer increase in size of the room will improve the program.

“The band room was built for fifty kids, and there’s 115 or 120 students in band now,” Woodworth said. “So, you have doubled the size of what it was built for just in the number of students. So more space was crucial to the program.”

Whereas the band needed space, the athletics programs needed more time. Varsity basketball coach, Daniel Morrill, is thankful for the relief of stress on the students provided by the changes.

“Not just the high school sports, but all of the community sports and youth sports, were always looking for gym space and so, myself being on the youth basketball board, we were always looking to beg, borrow, and steal space from other gyms and places, and it’s never enough,” Morrill said. “So there was a definite need for that, and oftentimes they were having young people having late practices. Both of those are going to serve a huge need.”

This relief is essentially provided for by simply increasing the available space for athletics.

“I think it [auxiliary gym] is invaluable. Just the amount of opportunities for kids to get in and play their sport is going to increase by basically thirty-three percent. We’ve got two gyms that are somewhat available to the middle and high school, and then we added one more. So you’re adding thirty-three percent more gym time for all of the same programs,” Morrill said.

Also in support of the notion that the new facilities will benefit the community as a whole is Brandon Woodworth, who believes that the school’s large community involvement contributed greatly to the designated changes to the building.

“We started with a smaller group of people within the community, and they basically reach out and help us survey the greater community of what they feel like the biggest needs within the school system are, and not just the school system, but the greater community and what facilities we could add so that it benefits not only our students, but the community at large,” Woodworth said. “I like to tell people this all the time: We are not Laingsburg Public Schools, we are Laingsburg Community Schools. There’s a big difference there in my mind about how we’re supported by our community and how much they’re involved with what we do as a school system that it truly feels like Laingsburg Community Schools.”