Trinity Lutheran School looks a little different this school year, thanks to some upgrades to the building completed over the summer.
Principal Jerrita Staehr said the school moved its library space, renovated its gym and office spaces, and repurposed two upstairs classrooms.
The gym upgrades were spearheaded by the Trinity Lutheran Parent Teacher League. As part of its fundraising project, the gym floors were redone, the lines on the gym floor were repainted and the gym walls were repainted. Some new sound panels were also added in the gym. A revised school logo was painted in the middle of the gym floor.
The school also expanded its technology lab into an innovative learning space.
Due to growth, a second kindergarten section has also been added at the school. The two upstairs classrooms were repurposed to allow third- and fourth-graders to move there and have the kindergarten classes move downstairs.
“It is very exciting to have growth,” Staehr said. “That is really important that we could not just have larger classes, but then split that into teachable units with two classes of 13 (students). That is exciting to see that in the younger grades and hopefully they will continue on all the way through this school. The kindergarten class is the largest we have had in several years.”
She said future enrollment looks to be high, as Trinity Lutheran’s preschool enrollment is at 27 students this year. The kindergarten class is the only elementary class with two sections.
Trinity Lutheran started moving items to begin the building project in May, before finishing up at the end of July, Staehr said. Volunteers from the community and Heartland Lutheran High School helped to complete the moving process.
“The moving all happened through volunteers,” she said. “The painting that was done was all volunteers as well. The teachers are here and did the decorating, but it was all volunteers. We had three phases of moving and we had over 20 volunteers on each of those days.”
Third-grade teacher Tami Chandler said her repurposed classroom is bigger than her classroom last school year and has extra space. The room between the third- and fourth-grade classrooms will be a reading study space.
“It will be used for kids who maybe need a quieter space,” Chandler said. “We have talked about possibly making it a privilege to go in there and read. We will give them comfy chairs.”
She said the library, which is now on the first floor next to the entrance in the school’s former fourth-grade classroom, is also a bigger space and is more accessible to students.
“Before, it was by our technology lab,” Chandler said. “So if you were in there when they were having a class, it was hard. With it being its own space now, it is super nice because you can do different things with your classes.”
Staehr said prior to the library move, the technology lab and library were housed together, meaning the school had to coordinate times when students could be in the space. If a class of 20 students was using the technology lab, then the library “became competitive.”
Trinity Lutheran technology teacher Rod Felton said the school’s innovative learning space houses a green screen and will be used by the video production class, which is a middle school elective class. In the video production class, students will learn about various camera shots and angles, as well as how to use video production software.
Felton said the innovative learning space will allow Trinity Lutheran students to work on more group projects together and spread out more in the space.
“One side is our computer lab, but it will allow our students to undock their computers and take them into different parts of the room,” he said. “There will be different seating options, too, whether it be the black chairs with tables, beanbags, bungee chairs or stools.”
At the school’s open house Tuesday evening, students and their families were able to see the changes at Trinity Lutheran, explore the entire school and meet with their teachers prior to the first day of school Thursday.
Staehr said there was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm at the open house due to all the changes made to the school over the summer.
“You see a lot of people smiling tonight (Tuesday night) because they are pleased with these changes and are excited about seeing all the opportunities they can have,” she said. “Kids are excited about learning and are excited to come to school. Kids are always excited, but I think I saw more children excited tonight and I even see some of the older students who are excited. Being able to see change and that this is new is important to them.”