OLD GYM, NEW TESTING: ADMINISTRATORS RETROFIT GYM TO FREE MEDIA CENTER

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Within the next year the old gym, currently being used for gym classes, will be turned into a testing center for the FCAT, PSAT, and EOCs.

Bobbi Zahn, Managing Editor

This year Seminole High School is attempting to retrofit the old gym for testing such as FCAT and EOCs. The testing won’t be available for students until the following year but construction is on its way with the leftover millage tax funding it.

Principal Connie Collins said, “The district is in charge of retrofitting. We’re hoping it’ll be done this semester . . . a lot of students have said to me that they can’t access the Media Center during testing.”

This idea began with the intention of making the Media Center more accessible, a recent issue due to its use as a testing location. Towards the end of the year, when most of this testing takes place, it is nearly impossible to access the Media Center since it is closed during testing.

Junior Hunter Johnson said, “I love how the Media Center is going to be cleared up and can be used for immediate access.”

To calm the worry of the gym being unavailable, Ms. Shelly Prom, test coordinator, made sure that the computer situation wouldn’t be permanent in the old gym. The computers will only be used when needed; otherwise the gym will be free for classes.

While this idea is new to Seminole, it has been done many times at other schools. Dr. Collins pointed out, “Virtually every high school with two gyms uses one with wireless [access to testing]. Hagerty, Lake Brantley, etc. [all use this idea].”

With the Media Center as one of our only options for a testing location, it can be closed for weeks at a time depending on the test scheduling.

Media Specialist Mr. Charlie Schomer said, “Last year we lost 77 days, not counting half days [to testing].”

Students and teachers lose the ability to utilize the Media Center when needed. Testing dates can also be shifted, taking away any chance for teachers to accurately plan their Media Center days. Currently, fourth quarter is unable to be scheduled due to unknown testing.

Moving testing to the old gym frees up the Media Center’s schedule.

Johnson said, “I feel like students would be more comfortable in the gym as opposed to being crammed in the Media Center.”

There are some questions arising from this new proposal. Some of the issues include storage, updating computers, and moving gym classes. The benefits that this new testing space still provide have great potential to improve Media Center availability. Only time will tell what will happen; everything is expected to be set up by the 2014-2015 school year.