Final Phase of J-Wing Expansion Comes to a Close

In May of 2018, Dripping Springs ISD voters approved a 132 million bond referendum for an expansion at the high school to accommodate a capacity of 2,500 students, along with various other improvements for the seven schools within DSISD. Now, in Sept. of 2020, the new expansion has finally entered its home stretch.

Superintendent Todd Washburn cuts the ribbon to officially open the new J-wing on September 9. Photo by Teagan Krewson.

As school begins for the new semester the students will now be able to enjoy the new facilities that come with the expansion. The new wing includes many CTE classes along with other programs that require non-traditional classrooms with creative lab spaces. This will help accommodate classes such as robotics, engineering, video production, aquatic science, floral design, journalism, and more.

The new wing is beautiful and I am one of the lucky ones who get to call it home,” audio-video technology and animation teacher Lew Colborne said. I was elated when I heard about it.” 

Teachers moved into the new space on August 18. The feedback from the staff confirms that the building is living up to expectations, but they have had to overcome other challenges that come with the new technology.

As of right now, there are cables everywhere, holes in walls where more audio cables are being installed and we do not have much of the big gear that connects the new infrastructure to our current equipment,” audio-visual production and cinematography teacher, B.J. Mercer said. 

Because the new classrooms specifically accommodate courses that require non-traditional materials and utilities, the staff had the opportunity to have as much or little input as they wished. 

“I met with the architects several times… to talk about the space we needed and even to talk about the kind of furniture we wanted/needed in our classrooms,” floral design teacher Christy Trussel said.

With input from the teachers, the J-wing has helped fight against the overcrowding issue previously experienced at DSHS, and it will give the building a few more years of life as the only high school in Dripping Springs. 

“I think it gives the district more time before a decision has to be made on how to address the continued growth,” business teacher and head boys soccer coach, Josh Hill said.

As a result of the lack of space in the past, many teachers had to share a classroom. Now teachers who had to float from one classroom to another get their own new space. 

I didn’t have my own classroom before, so I just miss the interaction with the teachers whose room I used,” Josh Hill said.

Ultimately the new two-story expansion has created more opportunities for the students to expand their knowledge with the use of the new facilities. 

Mercer said, The students will have a state of the art workspace that provides and enhances their opportunities to learn, experience, produce and create at a professional level that will prove to be beneficial in the real world now and in the future.”

By Tia Davison, Entertainment Editor

Featured photo by Jessica Stamp

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