Kendall school improvements have ‘wow’ effect

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 4 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Kristina Gabalski – Kendall students, parents, staff, teachers, administrators and community members enjoyed their Sports Boosters’ Chicken Barbecue in the brand new cafeteria.

KENDALL – Expressions such as “I love it,” “It’s beautiful” and “It’s so different,” could be heard throughout Kendall Jr./Sr. High School on Thursday evening as the community toured the major capital improvements at the school.

“Everyone is really excited,” Principal Carol D’Agostino said. “Everyone thinks it is so bright and new.”

She noted that the open house to kick off the school year was truly a community gathering with the Sports Boosters’ Chicken Barbecue, informational displays/booths set up by GCASA, WEMOCO, Kendall Music Boosters and the Kendal PTSA, which sold root beer floats for $1. Entertainment was provided by Kendall band and chorus students.

Members of the Rice family enjoy their chicken barbecue in the new cafeteria at Kendall Jr./Sr. High School during an open house Thursday evening. Sitting along the left side are Tim, Olivia, Abby and Chuck Connor. On the right are Michelle and Katie. Michelle Rice was impressed with the renovations. “It’s very nice, we love it,” she said. One of her daughters begins seventh grade at the school this year and another will graduate in 2016. “We couldn’t believe all the nice improvements,” she added.

The school campus has received extensive renovations, plus a new cafeteria in the Jr./Sr. High School, all part of a $25 million capital project.

“People are walking in and saying ‘Wow,'” Kendall Superintendent Julie Christensen said. “They say it is beautiful and amazing. People who went to school here are shocked at the transformation. The kids are beaming.”

Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Librarian Sara Baglioni stands in the newly renovated, re-decorated and tech savy library. Upgrades include a smart board and wired tables for laptops and other electronic devices. New upholstered seating offers space to relax, read and study. Baglioni says she got her first glimpse on Tuesday. “I was completely taken aback with the change and how wonderful it is,” she said.

The project includes new roofs for both the Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School buildings, as well as energy efficient improvements, heating and ventilation work, and updated security measures. Both sites also have improvements to parking lots and sidewalks.

“I haven’t been here in 16 years,” former Kendall student Kate Czeh said. “I’m getting lost. It’s so different. It’s beautiful. I don’t even recognize it as Kendall.”

Debbie Nowak, a member of the custodial staff for 20 years, said it is the biggest construction project to take place in the time she has worked at Kendall.

“It’s been a lot of work, it’s been non-stop cleaning,” she noted and added that the project still isn’t complete. “It will be a another year before it’s done.”

Students also had the opportunity to set up their lockers in preparation for the first day of school.

Kendall 8th grader Ashlyn Fowler found all the changes a bit disorienting, “I think I’m gonna get lost,” she said while preparing for the start of the school year. Her mom, Jennifer, who went to Kendall, is pleased with the changes. “It’s different,” she said. “I love it with all the Kendall blue and white.”

The open house was well-attended and community groups set up information tables. Those attending enjoyed cookies and lemonade.