COUNTDOWN to FCSD Construction Completion
Fairfield Freshman School Principal
Mr. Michael Berkemeier
Our school administrators share thoughts about the exciting changes that are happening with the construction of new schools and the restructuring of the district.
What is the one thing you will miss about your current building?
I will miss my office being attached to the main office up front as people walk in. I love being able to see and greet everyone who comes into our school. It’s a great conversation starter as parents and loved ones wait on their child or request help. I will also miss that my office will not be attached to the main hallway. It is extremely convenient to be able to step out into the hallway during class changes and interact with the majority of our students daily. Finally, still about my office, I will miss the size for sure. (: For those who have never been in my office, it is the old superintendent’s office and it is quite large. However, because of building needs, it now also serves as a conference room, locker room for athletic equipment, security office, document storage and in one corner, my work space.
What's the one thing you won't miss?
I will not miss all the water leaks and run down, broken items throughout our building. When it rains outside, our ceiling is like a watering can with water sprinkling down throughout the building. Our school has been well used over the years and many items throughout the building show the wear and tear of a school that is 66 years old. Our classrooms, hallways, offices, auditorium, cafeteria, gym, and other spaces contain many broken or unfixable items and with the upcoming move approaching, the cost of replacing or fixing these items is too high.
Top three "Bests" about your new building?
1. Getting new digs – We are all excited about the new classrooms, common learning areas, gym, auditorium, cafeteria layout, multiple conference rooms, and a newer, modern design; including getting new furniture and equipment for our students. We are all excited to see what it will look and feel like when we enter the building for the first time.
2. Consistent temperature – Our current school always seems to be too hot or too cold and definitely at the wrong times. We are all very excited to get central air conditioning and heat that will hopefully be regulated at a level where everyone is consistently comfortable.
3. School-wide assemblies – We currently do not have a space that can hold our entire student body. In our new school, the gymnasium will seat over 1,000 people allowing us to gather all the students together for speakers, assemblies, or simply to communicate the same message at one time.
Interesting fact that most won't know about your new school?
Our designers were very creative incorporating some of the current Freshman School items into the new building. They pulled 7 huge, iconic concrete blocks from the exterior of our current building and
worked them into the new school. Approximately 250 of our current auditorium seats will be incorporated in the exterior design of the auditorium visible in the cafeteria. Finally, the beautiful auditorium mural in our current building is also going to be featured in our new school in three prominent locations within the main office and outside the auditorium. Thanks to the creativity of the designers, we will have multiple places where we have incorporated the old with the new.
Words of advice to students and staff who will be new to your school in 2017-18?
With the new, modern layout of our school, the way students will be taught will also be improved. Inside each wing is a common learning area allowing teachers to work together or spread their class out to teach more creative, interactive lessons. The way certain units are taught and the way our students interact with one another will be reflective of our new school since we have the layout and space to be able to do it. Our teachers have been working hard updating their plans to prepare for their new teaching environment.
If you could take one thing from the old building with you, what would it be? Why?
Memories. We always keep memories in our heart of our favorite students from our favorite classes including our favorite interactions over the years. For example, I moved to Fairfield 12 years ago and I will still drive by my old house every now and again. When I drive by and look at it, I am flooded with memories of when I was in that house. I love my new house (if it’s still considered new) but sometimes that visual reminder can do so much for jogging memories of the great times you’ve had. With our current building being demolished, we won’t have that spark to jog those memories of that certain student, in that certain room, or that big game in our gym. I believe that’s why our auction has generated a ton of interest because people want to purchase a small keepsake from the building. We will still carry those memories in our hearts but to be able to take the details of those memories with us would be special.
Fairfield Board of Education Approves Redistricting Plan
The Fairfield City Schools Board of Education approved a recommendation to redistrict the 10,000-student school system, effective at the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
The plan was presented in July after nearly a year of work by school and transportation department officials with Education Logistics' Edulog routing and planning software.
“We worked diligently to ensure minimal disruption for families, but also to allow for an approximately equal number of students in each of the schools affected by these changes,” said Bill Westerbeck, Director of Transportation.
The shift in boundary lines will accommodate a district reconfiguration that is part of a major construction project that began almost two years ago. The project includes replacing Central Elementary and the Freshman School - two of the district’s oldest buildings, and constructing Compass Elementary School - the district’s sixth elementary school - across from the Senior High School on Holden Boulevard.
The following changes will be in place for the start of the 2017-2018 school year:
- The district will open six elementary schools for kindergarten through fifth grade: North and East in Fairfield Township, and Central, Compass, South, and West in the City of Fairfield. This year (2016-2017) is the last school year for the Intermediate School, which houses fifth and sixth grades.
- The district will open two middle schools for sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Creekside Middle School is the new name for the current middle school building on Nilles Road. Crossroads Middle School is the new name for the current Intermediate School on Donald Drive.
- West, South and Central Elementary School attendance areas will feed into Creekside Middle School.
- North, East, and Compass Elementary School attendance areas will feed into Crossroads Middle School.
- The new Freshman School will open adjacent to the Senior High School, making it a true high school campus.
“A great deal of thought and effort went into creating this plan,” said Superintendent Billy Smith. “This is a very exciting time for our district, and we are fortunate to live in an area which supports building new school buildings for our community.”
Please find maps for the recently approved attendance boundaries below.