End of era
If you're in the stands Friday night at Rockdale High School graduation you might just want to look right, across the RHS baseball field, into the future.
Commencement 2009-2010 literally marks the end of an era in our town's school history. The Rockdale ISD will be very different when classes open in August and it will stay that way.
Probably most of us are aware of the new intermediate school, and virtually new high school—that construction is what you will see from the bleachers Friday—which are in the home stretch of massive building projects.
But here's a few "under the radar" observations many of us haven't even considered, which hint at the scale of changes that are only about three months away:
• While a new RHS auditorium was not part of the renovation expansion, the current 700-seat facility is getting a new, spacious lobby which will make public use of the auditorium (still in great shape) must more "user friendly" for the public.
• The cramped elementary "cafetorium" (a word from the 1950s) has sent assemblies of much more than one grade to the un-air conditioned gym. Now, with the K-5 population split between two campuses, and a new, spacious cafeteria at the intermediate school, gatherings of students in the old facility (grades K-2) should be much cooler.
• While we're on the subject of cafeterias, the new, larger facility at the high school, will be able to handle all students at that campus, something that hasn't been possible for decades. As a result, the RHS campus will be closed at lunch for all grades.
• The "new" high school's sheer size will impose changes of its own. Travel time from one end of the campus main building to the other will more than double. A "lockerless" approach, with textbooks for home and class, is being analyzed.
• Decades of traffic "finger crossing," due to twice daily gridlock on the 1930s-wide streets around the 800-student elementary, are about to ease. Half those students will be on another campus come August. That means half the traffic. But, please, for our children's sakes, don't let your guard down and speed up just because you could!
That's only a few of the changes. Our school life is about to change, for the better, in many ways we can't yet imagine.—M.B.