No. 6 story of 2010: AC project

    The approval of a $10 million construction and renovation project — and a change in educational philosophy — at Adams Central School was ranked as the No. 6 story in Adams County during 2010 in balloting by employees of the Decatur Daily Democrat.
    The construction project will last about one year and add classrooms, offices, and restrooms, while creating a new and more secure north side access and making numerous renovations. The current offices of the high school, middle school, athletic director, guidance department, and nurse will be moved within the kindergarten-through-senior structure.
    At its January meeting, the AC board voted 6-1 to use the design-build method instead of the traditional design-bid-build concept. A few days later, the school board signed a contract with InterDesign for its work on the project.
    On August 19, the school board voted to move ahead with the project — without the addition of a new gymnasium as had been earlier discussed at length during numerous meetings of district residents.    School board member Wes Kuntzman said many school residents had urged the board to “do something” about AC’s lack of sufficient gym space. But he said it appeared that AC could not do what was needed within the $2 million range that would keep opponents from starting a remonstrance against it.
    Superintendent Mike Pettibone said the board and the district ought to “step back and be appreciative” of the fact that AC was selected for the full $10 million amount it sought in qualified school construction bonds.
    A ceremony was held Sept. 27 to officially kick off the construction project.

New Tech begins ...
    Meanwhile, in February the AC school board unanimously agreed to formally have the 2010-11 ninth and tenth grade classes kick off the New Tech learning model, a project-based, team-oriented, and more independent from traditional teaching.
    Pettibone at the time said he was confident that New Tech will catch on at AC because its students and staff are showing interest in something not just new, but also quite challenging.
    Among the changes put into effect this fall were three combined classes: biology and literature, a two-period class for freshmen; geography and literature, a two-period class for sophomores; and physical education and health, a one-period class for freshmen.
    The New Tech program will expand in subsequent years until all four high school grades will be involved.
    School officials call the shift toward new tech “bold and progressive” and add, “The desire is to increase student engagement and prepare students for the 21st century workplace. The move to New Tech must be viewed as an investment.”
    Pettibone reported that AC has received letters of support for New Tech and that a variety of monetary sources is available to the school district for that concept.