Lizzie Moore ’24
During the fall of 2019, the renovations of Bethel’s R.M.T Johnson School and Anna H. Rockwell School started. The school renovations were necessary for the benefit of students, staff and the community. There are many things to look forward to as the renovations come to a close.
During a recent interview with Dr. Christine Carver, Superintendent of Bethel Public Schools, the necessity for the building renovations was obvious. Both Johnson and Rockwell were originally constructed in the 1980s. As the years went on and as the schools began to need more and more repairs, the demand for the renovations grew.
“Both of the buildings had a number of issues, including, mechanical, structural and environmental issues,” Dr. Carver explained.
The community has so much to look forward to, as both schools have turned out to be amazing facilities. There will now be a full-sized gymnasium and amphitheater, brand new technology for theatrical productions and even new playgrounds at both schools.
All of these new additions will benefit the community for years to come.
The pandemic had a huge impact on the renovations, both negatively and positively. Dr. Carver stated that the pandemic helped with the construction because of the renovations being behind schedule.
“It enabled them [construction workers] to get into spaces quicker and more efficiently than if the renovations were happening in phases,” Dr. Carver added.
Since the students and staff were no longer in the building due to the pandemic, this allowed construction workers to work in classrooms and other spaces that were previously occupied with students and staff. With the building being empty, the construction workers were able to work without interruptions and it helped the construction get back on schedule.
On the other hand, the pandemic also slowed down the production of materials, like steel, which prevented the workers from getting everything needed as quickly as possible.
The renovations will impact the community and the Bethel school system. The renovations will bring new opportunities and activities to students throughout the schools.
Despite the pandemic and other conflicts, Dr. Carver and her team have worked diligently to help manage this project.
The renovations will make our schools and community a better place and hopefully, next year schools will be back to as normal as possible so the children, faculty and staff can enjoy their new learning environment.