West will dismiss three weeks early due to asbestos in old building’s roof

Nathaniel Rudolph, Staff Writer

After years of setbacks and changes within the education realm due to COVID and other infractions, another wrench was thrown into the mix on Monday.  District 6 announced several impacts on the school year at Greeley West High School, most notably an end-of-school date of April 29.

Due to the age of the old Greeley West, asbestos has been a problem for decades. Before demolishing the old building, abatement must be executed in order to stop the release of toxic materials into the air and surrounding soils. After careful examination from contractors, the extent of this abatement is far greater than expected; what went from a two-week operation might last for 12 weeks. In order to accommodate this setback, the contractors will need a head start to finish the abatement so the new building will be on track to open next school year. 

“The new building is on schedule and ready to go,” District-6 Chief of Communications Theresa Myers explained “The real problem that created this whole situation is the asbestos in the roof of the old building, which had never been investigated before due to lack of repairs on the roof until it had been uncovered through construction.” 

For students and teachers, this means they must be out of the old school before the end of April, resulting in the last day of the school year being April 29th. There will be other changes to the Greeley West schedule and other activities that will stay the same. For some, this is a positive; however, many students feel this will impact their learning. 

“I believe this will effect our learning since we do have quite a bit to cover in some classes, and we won’t be able to get this in a shortened year. This is especially difficult for IB and AP students getting support for their exams after school has ended, but might allow for more study time,” Greeley West senior Bridget Hulac explained.

Senior Alana Smith provided the counterview: “Personally, I don’t think this will have a toll on mine or my peers’ learning. We have great teachers at West, and I know they’ll make accommodations that students need with their learning,” Smith said.

For seniors, this might leave things on a sour note however, Hulac continued, “In reality, this won’t change much for me as a senior since I have already said goodbye to the most important things at West as we moved into the new building.”

To address some concerns, AP and IB tests will still be on the same dates, and the new building or other venues will be used to accommodate these exams. Students that need support for different projects and tests will also be supported after the official last day of school. This also means some finals will be held the week of April 25, and teachers will communicate this with students later in time.  

“We want to ensure that students get the support they need for the rest of the school year,” Myers stated “This includes teachers consolidating their lessons and school departments offering enrichment activities for those students who can’t finish strong in the time given.”

Late start on Mondays will be ruled out and a regular schedule will be put in place for those days. Graduation and Prom activities will still be planned for their current dates, and no changes have been made to their venues. Any other award ceremony, senior recognition, banquets, and performances will still be held, however, possibly at different venues.

According to District 6, Greeley West had enough instruction minutes to accommodate this change, primarily since only one snow day was used this year. Furthermore, other vacation days such as April 25 are being looked into changing back to regular school days for Greeley West.

This change will not only put stress on kids, but also on teachers as they scramble to adjust lesson plans and provide adequate instruction for students. 

“There is no doubt the staff at Greeley West has been under pressure from COVID and construction, but they are all very nimble and ready to adapt to this change,”  Myers said.  “But it will ultimately put more stress on teachers as they sprint to the finish line. Although they know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

This unexpected change is, without a doubt, another obstacle for students and teachers at Greeley West to overcome. Still, staff are working hard to prepare students for this early end of their school year. “I, and the entire Spartan family, sincerely appreciate your support and patience during the construction of the new Greeley West… We will work hard to accommodate the learning needs of all our students for the remainder of the school year and ensure that every student finishes the year strong,” Greeley West Jeff Cranson said.