Addition of new computer lab relocates Graphic Design teacher Jerry Howard

Demand for new computer lab prompts room move mid-semester

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By Hunter Ristau

Standing in his new room, art teacher Jerry Howard “thinks that it will be exciting for him to have his own room just for Graphic Design.”

Tricia Drumm and Ally Nguyen

The school’s layout allows for many teachers to be close to each other within their department. An exception to this, however, is the art department, with two classes being on the ground level of the A-hallway and two being in the C-hallway. One of these classrooms, Graphic Design teacher Jerry Howard’s, will be moved to the A-hallway because of the addition of a new computer lab consisting solely of Mac computers.

According to technology director Brandon Riffle, the new addition cost the district approximately $49,508.86. Associate vice principal Jennifer Smith led the charge for the addition by providing ideas and planning. She believes the addition of the laboratory and the relocation of Howard will ultimately benefit students.

“By moving [Howard] close to the other art rooms, it will allow all of the art teachers to collaborate and make the program stronger,” Smith said. “Not only will it benefit those students taking Graphic Design and Art, but it will also benefit those students taking our music non-performance classes. The band and choir room don’t have desks and have to bring a computer cart in.”

The planning was lengthy for Smith, who had to consider multiple factors such as if the room would be able to stay cool enough to house a computer lab, and the effects it would have on foot traffic. Additionally, she had to make sure the technology department could connect wires to make the Wi-Fi more reliable.

By Hunter Ristau
In the process of setting up Graphic Design Jerry Howard’s new room, a worker installs Internet cables.

According to Howard, one benefit of the new computer lab is that it will offer him a space to have a plan period. During first quarter, assistant band director Elca Wagner would be teaching Multimedia Music at the same time he’d have plan.

On the other hand, Howard said the opportunity to move near the other art teachers is “kind of like a double-edged sword.”

“I’m really excited … to get to move and have a room where I know I can have my own plan period,” Howard said. “But then it’s like now that I’m moving I feel like I’m getting pulled away from [art teacher Krystal] Strong and from the theater department.”

For students, the new computer lab brings varied reactions. Senior Allison Lust, who’s in both Howard’s Graphic Design class and heavily involved in set crew for the theatre department, said she understands the benefits behind the addition of another computer lab. At the same time, she doesn’t see the necessity.

“[Set crew] is all in that corner of the building, and now that Howard’s room is on the opposite side of the [school], that’s one less space that we all have to get ready,” Lust said. “[Additionally,] on silver days, all my classes are around [lower C-hallway], so I’m able to stay in one area. Now that it’s getting moved down to the end of A-hallway, I have to go to the opposite end of the school. It’s a little inconvenient, but not horrible.”

Although Howard has conflicting feelings about the relocation, he believes that, at the end of the day, students are the top priority.

“I don’t think it’s going to interfere with what’s best for kids, and that’s learning,” Howard said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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