It was with great pride that staff at North Branch Area Public Schools welcomed community members inside our schools for a first look at many of the improvements made possible by the May 23, 2017, referendum. The middle school, high school, and Sunrise were all open and available for visitors to explore on Friday, Sept. 6.

Among the improvements highlighted at Sunrise were new classroom, FTLA (flexible teaching and learning area), and cafeteria furniture; the cafeteria hallway, classroom technology and paint and field work.

The middle school highlighted classroom improvements such as new furniture and technology, paint, lighting and ceiling tiles; new lighting and ceiling tiles in common areas, FTLA furniture and creation stations, the new Student Support Center, main office, boilers and more.

The high school showcased its refurbished auditorium, new classrooms and furniture, the new learning stair, fitness center, gymnasium, culinary space, Viking store, counseling center, stadium area and much more.

The time capsule dedication was a memorable event, and it was wonderful to have the Air Force JROTC students on hand to serve as Color Guard.

My thanks go out to the staff that volunteered to be part of the celebration and explain some of the improvements, as well as all the referendum supporters and experts that came to see how their efforts have become a reality for our students and families.

As I watched the smiling faces of people seeing the transformation of our schools for the first time, I was reminded of all the work that went into passing the referendum, and all the work that has happened since. It’s hard to believe this effort started in 2013 with a study of our facilities’ needs.

From the Facilities Study Group, through two referendum campaigns, and into the present (families and staff are being so patient with construction-related challenges), this has truly been a team effort.

A student walked into the new addition at the high school on the first day of school, looked around in amazement, and asked, “Is this all for us?”

Together you created that sense of support and commitment students are feeling from the community. From all of us here, thank you for that!  

Dr. Deb Henton is superintendent of North Branch Area Public Schools. 

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