th Grade Teacher
I actually learned how to solder, weld, operate woodworking equipment, and repair motorcycles in public schools. While our 5th graders did not obtain that level of involvement on our tour of the new facilities, I think that they had a unique opportunity to see some of the numerous materials and various labor and skills that go into a construction project, most especially as large an undertaking as this.
Ms. Romano and Bill the Builder took great pains to explain the significance and good fortune of taking a tour of the building process. The kids were all very engaged and well-mannered on the entire 30-minute tour. I feel they then had a real sense of what will be waiting for them in the spring.
In addition, they were all excited to get to continue the tradition begun in the old yellow building in the late 1800s of “signing” their names to the structure.
Mrs. Miller toured her future classroom with the students as well, pointing out where everything would be.
To generally quote Ms. Romano, “This is an incredible opportunity afforded to our students and staff to see their new school building in its development stages, and to understand that they will be the first class to occupy and utilize its advanced facilities. This is only made possible because of the construction crew’s willingness to work around us on Fridays.”
In addition, I overheard one of the tradespeople mention how much they wished they could have toured their school as a child when it was being built.
I have spent at least 16 of my almost 18 years here at Blanco ISD in portables, so I find it surreal at times to even imagine myself teaching in a brand new facility with a brand new Elementary Science lab/classroom, computer lab, and library.
On a personal note, both of my adult daughters attended school here, and their science classes were just a few feet from where the new lab will be. I get a bit emotional thinking about that and their teachers and all the quality education that has taken place in that area over the years.
In all honesty I had planned to retire (early) until two summers ago when I was placed on the building committee. Being in on the ground floor of this community-supported project has infused an old guy with some new energy. I feel an obligation to test out what I was asked to place my input into as well. I had always imagined I would end my career in education in the 5th grade portables.
I think the construction progress has been what one would expect from such a large undertaking. Having personally spent several years in the construction business, building everything from a tree house to a huge nursing home complex, I understand the complexities and scheduling issues of construction work.
It is somewhat like a well-orchestrated offensive football play, in that getting to the goal (line) depends on everyone being in the right place at the right time and doing their job to the best of their ability so that the person coming right behind them can do their job as well. It is an unbelievable amount of scheduling and coordination of a multitude of trades and crafts—and cooperation of the weather!
Of course, there was a huge push over the summer break and I believe they did well. I know from experience that remodeling takes at least twice as long as new construction and we should all remember that a portion, perhaps 30%, of this job involves remodeling.
I must include my sincere and personal gratitude to the Blanco community for its support of this important and much-needed educational project.
Following are some quotes from our fifth grade students:
“I think it was great, that we got to see how it’s going to be when they are finished and that we got to sign our names.”—Shelby
“Awesome—we will get to be the first 5th grade class in there.”— Romaro
“I think it’s cool because we get a new stage and new bathrooms.”—Addy
“I think it is cool because we will have an outdoor deck for nice cool days.”—Jacob