The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
More secure Culpeper High to reopen next week
When students return to Culpeper High School Tuesday, they will come back to a much improved security system.
The renovation work this summer that delayed the start of classes by one week included opening a new outside door that takes visitors directly into the main office.
Previously anyone entering the school through the main doors had immediate access to three halls. Only an often overburdened staffer sitting behind a desk in the front hall stood between an intruder and the bowels of the school.
“Except when students are arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon, those main doors will be locked,” said principal Jeff Dietz. “Beginning next week, every visitor will have to come directly through the main office to get into the building.”
Dietz said that a second security entrance will be built sometime this fall on the north side of the main entrance. It will lead into the attendance office, which will also be secured.
“If a parent is bringing lunch money or picking up a student, he can go directly into the attendance office,” Dietz said. “That should slow down the flow of traffic in the main office.”
The Culpeper High principal said he expects renovation work on the first two halls and the main office area to be completed by this afternoon.
“We will hopefully be moving back into the main office [Friday] and we should be ready for our open house on Monday,” Dietz said.
The open house runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Classes begin Tuesday, exactly one week behind the rest of the county schools.
Teachers were allowed back in their classrooms this week and those interviewed lauded the new look and the technology upgrades.
“Starting from scratch wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” said second-year English teacher Charlee Pence. “I especially like the [ceiling] speakers, which allow me to play music and perform other instructional duties directly from my computer.”
English teacher Rachel Yorio said the ceiling-mounted projectors in every room are a big step above those that were pushed around on carts in previous years.
“I’m also excited to see how the new desks will work out,” Yorio said.
Those desks, essentially small tables, allow two students to sit side-by-side instead of having individual desks.
“I think this arrangement will be great for partner work,” Yorio added.
With work on the first two phases of the $15.8 million Culpeper High renovation project being finished this weekend, renovation of the third hall will begin next week.
“They hope to be finished with that by December,” said Dietz. “The best thing about that part of the phasing is that even if it carries over into January, it will not be a deal-breaker like this summer. Teachers will already be established in some location.”