New policies and facilities greet students this year


photo by Lyle

A bus exits onto the new driveway to Fairmount Street in the remodeled parking lot.

Caylla Townsley, Editor

The start of the school year has brought several new changes and some new faces. From the new locker rooms and parking lot, to the new policies, things around West have become different.

New principal Jenni Weipert comes from Walcott Intermediate to head the Falcons. New athletic director  Kevin Petersen comes from Central, joining new associate principal Adam Pagett.

The parking lot

A big physical change about West is the new school parking lot. The school spent approximately $475,000 to add stop signs, a curved driveway, and islands. “I think they did a good job on that,” Weipert said.

The reason behind the new parking lot was to make it safer overall. A speed bump was added to slow kids down, along with a four-way stop to better help direct traffic.

“We did lose a few spaces, but overall safety was first,” Weipert explained. After all the renovation, the school lost anywhere from 70-150 parking spots.

Senior Cole Lotspeich said he likes the new parking lot. “It’s absolutely less dangerous, and flows a lot better.”

Locker rooms

Another major change is the boys and girls gym locker rooms. It cost $900,000 to remodel the locker rooms and

locker room
Photo by Caylla Townsley
Bright red lockers were installed in the PE locker rooms this month.

make them more fit for the students at West. Working over the summer, crews added new lockers, nicer bathrooms and individual showers, rather than a community one.

“They are a lot nicer, and seem spacier,” said Coach Griep.

With new red lockers and white tiles, the locker rooms now represent more than just a place to change, but a place supporting the school.

“The aux for the varsity locker rooms is really cool,” said senior Nate Hoth. “Even though I’ll never get to use it, it’ll be a great way to get our teams pumped.”

Senior Dakota Mowery likes the new locker rooms, but he is missing one thing. “I miss my benches.” he said because he wants a place to sit and tie his shoes.

Overall, the locker rooms caused a ton of excitement and positive feedback. “I like the lighting, fresh paint job, and how the lockers aren’t damaged,” explains Coach Paulson, “yet.”

Four-minute passing time

A building rule that changed was reducing passing time from five to four minutes. Principal Weipert had a conversation with the administrative staff and they came to a consensus that shorter passing time could result in fewer fights and less crowded hallways.  So far, this has proven to be true.

However, some students said it was difficult to get where they needed to be on time.

“I still don’t like the passing time,” said senior Troy Evans.  “I’m late to my third block everyday, no matter how fast I go.”

Weipert said she would review the passing time situation at the end of the first  term and decide if it should be adjusted. She would like to meet with student representatives each month to discuss school concerns.

Entering the building

Another building rule that has changed since last year is when you can enter the building. Before, you could enter the building whenever you arrived. Now, students can’t enter until 7:55 a.m. unless they have a signed pass from a teacher to go up to that teacher’s room at 7:35 a.m.

However, students can enter at 7:35 a.m. to go into the cafeteria for breakfast.

Weipert hopes that setting the new time will give kids a purpose for coming each day, and help limit negative things that could happen inside the building before teachers report for work at 7:35 a.m.

“Kids will have a purpose,” Weipert said. “A reason for what they’re doing and where they are going.”

The Pledge

At the start of every day, a voice comes on the announcements and leads the school in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Photo by Lyle
Senior Caylla Townsley and freshman Justin Garcia say the Pledge of Allegiance. The pledge is said at the beginning of first block everyday so that students feel united as a country, said new principal Jenni Weipert.

Principal Weipert said she believes that honoring our country in unison reminds us of our freedoms. She spent four years in Germany, and while she was there she realized that as citizens of the United States, we take a lot of our freedoms for granted. The pledge reminds us of our freedoms, and unites us all as one, she said.

Stricter enforcement

The rule against bringing outside food and large backpacks to class is being more strongly enforced this year.  Also only water or clear, flavored liquids are allowed. Weipert hopes to keep the environment clean by creating positive surroundings for the students and staff.