HUMBOLDT - The 2012-2013 school year brought a few new additions and changes within the Humboldt Community School District, Superintendent Greg Darling said.
The highlight of the year, according to Darling, has been the new middle school building, which was added onto the southeast corner of the Humboldt High School facility.
"We really are proud of the middle school," said Darling. "It is a great new facility."
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
The exterior of the newly renovated central administration offices for the Humboldt Community School District. With the construction of a new middle school and shifting of grade levels, space become available for the offices in the Mease Elementary School building in Dakota City at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
The new building houses fifth- through eighth-grade students, which is also a change to the previous setup in which students in prekindergarten, kindergarten and first grades attended Mease Elementary School in Dakota City, second- through fifth-graders attended Taft Elementary School in Humboldt and sixth through eighth grades attended the middle school. With the fifth-grade classes moved to the new middle school, first grade was able to move into available classrooms at Taft, while Mease became an early childhood learning center for prekindergarten and kindergarten classes with the north wing remodeled to house the district offices.
"We've done some rearranging of our school setup," said Darling. "We did some remodeling at Mease to accommodate an early childhood center, and moved our administration offices into the same building. It has saved our district the cost of rent. We were located in rented space in the MidAmerican Energy building."
The new facility has taken on a "green" approach with several windows and natural light throughout the hallways, media center and lunch room.
"During the day, when it isn't being used we don't have to use the lights in the lunch room," said Brenda Geitzenauer, Humboldt Middle School principal. "It's always bright."
The new building also offers a full-size gymnasium with a high school-sized court and a separate wrestling room for middle school wrestlers and the community youth wrestling program.
"The gym has been highly used by both the community and high school," said Geitzenauer.
Each wing of the new building is centered around a pod area with 28 laptop computer stations that can be used by teachers and students as a group or be taken into the classroom, and big-screen televisions with projectors for video and slide presentations.
The former middle school facility is being utilized as the home of Alternative Learning Program for the Humboldt Area - ALPHA - program, an alternative school for at-risk students.
"We have had quite a success with the ALPHA program," said Darling.
The district is also in its second year of a whole-grade sharing agreement with the Twin Rivers School District. Students in sixth through 12th grades from Twin Rivers attend school in Humboldt while the district maintains its own elementary school.
"Twin Rivers continues to do well," said Darling who is also superintendent at Twin Rivers. "Their middle and high school students come to Humboldt. The elementary has a one-to-one laptop initiative and they are still a very financially sound district."
Darling said the Humboldt Community School District continues to make strides academically at all grade levels along with maintaining a high graduation rate.
"Our graduation rate is excellent," he said. "Most of our students graduate with an average of 15 college credits. We continue to strive for excellence and that shows in our students' high test scores. We've made many advancements in technology and our facilities and our extracurriculars continue to have success. We have lots of good things happening and we continue to live by our district motto, 'learning and success for all."