New facilities give Zama schools a little more independence
Stars and Stripes June 19, 2007
CAMP ZAMA, Japan — This fall, students at Zama American High School and Zama American Middle School will have more than just new teachers and classes waiting for them.
They’ll also have nicer digs and more space.
As the two schools, which currently occupy the same buildings, get used to becoming separate entities — the 2006-07 school year was the first during which grades 7 and 8 were considered separate from 9-12 — new facilities are being constructed to allow more separation between the middle and high school students.
Starting this fall, Zama high school students will attend math, science, business, computer and art classes in a new 30,074 square-foot, $6-million building. In addition, the high school students will have a larger dining area in the schools’ cafeteria.
“This project has been in the works for several years,” said Dr. Jerry Ashby, the high school principal. “While we’ll never truly be able to have a separate middle school and high school, this will give both schools more flexibility.”
The new building is the first phase of a multi-year project expected to be completed by the start of school in fall 2009.
Other projects in the works include an addition to the gymnasium containing offices, new locker rooms and classrooms, and a new building housing general-purpose classrooms and rooms for the schools’ music and JROTC departments.
Some of the features in the new facilities include wiring for Internet capabilities in many of the classrooms, chemical resistant floors in the science labs and plenty of storage space for learning materials.
“The new facilities will allow us to become more aligned with the modern-day high school curriculum,” said Patricia Jorgenson, Zama High School’s assistant principal.
Approximately 650 students are expected to attend the two schools this fall, said Ashby, 400 students at the high school and 250 at the middle school.
“I think it’s going to be good for our school,” said Nelson Bishop, 17, student body president for the next school year. “It will give us a greater sense of pride and a place to call our own.”
Giving students a place to call their own will be beneficial for the middle school, too, said Denise Leach, the middle school’s principal.
As the two schools continue to separate, Leach said, the middle school students will develop their own sense of identity and school spirit while having a faculty devoted specifically to their needs.