Oakman High principal discusses improvements, upcoming school year

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 7/16/17

OAKMAN — Oakman High School students will be met with positive changes during the upcoming school year — with one over 60 years in the making.

Over the past few months, a new lunchroom has been built for OHS students to replace the school’s …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

Oakman High principal discusses improvements, upcoming school year

Posted

OAKMAN — Oakman High School students will be met with positive changes during the upcoming school year — with one over 60 years in the making.

Over the past few months, a new lunchroom has been built for OHS students to replace the school’s old lunchroom that was built in the 1950s. On the first day of school next month, students will be able to enjoy their new, modern lunchroom, decorated with a variety of seating options that include an Oakman wildcat design on some of the lunchroom’s tables.

Oakman’s blue and white color scheme is incorporated throughout the lunchroom, along with wildcat paw prints.

New equipment and freezers have also been purchased for the lunchroom staff.

The new space will feature buffet style dining, a salad bar and seating for 200 students. The lunchroom will also have restrooms in an area off from the dining room. Oakman High Principal Patrick Gann said the restrooms will be especially convenient for students, because they had to travel back to the high school before to visit such facilties. He said the lunchroom’s proximity to the high school will also benefit everyone who uses the new facility.

“For years we’ve had to walk up to the lunchroom. It’s closer, and we’ll have the canopy so there won’t be rain blowing in on you,” Gann said. “With this being out here by the AG shop, it’s going to be a shorter trip, and there’s going to be less exposure to the elements.”

The lunchroom is nearly complete and is in the process of passing final inspections.

Over the summer, workers have also been remodeling the school’s field house, which hasn’t had a major upgrade in decades. The weight room in the field house has been enlarged, new showers are being installed and the school purchased a new commercial washing machine and dryer to launder football uniforms. The coach’s office will also be remodeled.

Gann said in addition to the new lunchroom and field house renovation, concrete has been poured around public areas of the baseball and softball field.

The school’s old lunchroom was recently demolished, and work will soon begin on an athletic facility for all students to use.

“The architect has told me that it’s going to have nets that can be raised and lowered to practice softball and baseball. It will have turf in the middle, and on the sides is where we will put the weights,” Gann said.

A timeline has not been announced for when the facility will be complete.

Gann expects enrollment to increase slightly during the upcoming school year, bringing their head count to just over 400 students. Teachers Heather Shelton (math), Natalie Carson (family and consumer science) and Joey Dill (science) will join the school faculty this year. Caleb Hoyle will serve as Oakman’s new drivers education teacher, head baseball coach and assistant football coach.

Oakman High is looking to expand dual enrollment opportunities during the 2017-18 school year and implement a new advisory period for emotional and educational support. Gann also said he hopes to have a drama club in place soon. He said he has written a grant for the school to receive some theatre props to jump-start the club.

“We’re going to try to work with the middle school and include the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. They already have a drama program,” Gann said. “If we combine forces and have more [students involved], we should be able to offer one big, nice production.”

Gann spoke highly of Oakman Middle School’s new principal, Chris Walton, and said they plan to continue working together to strengthen the Oakman campus. He said he also stays in contact with Oakman’s new mayor, Cory Franks, to ensure the school continues supporting the town’s efforts.

“Mayor Franks and I stay in contact. We just try to help each other and boost each other’s endeavors up as much as we can. The high school is going to be fully involved in anything they propose and allow us to be involved in. I can see some of our clubs helping with the Days Gap Fest,” Gann said of the town event that is currently in development. “We’ve got a good relationship, and hopefully we can build on that and continue to work together.”

Oakman High students will return to the classroom Aug. 14.