Hudson High School Principal Laura Love and Hudson Middle School Principal Dan Koch presented a report to the Hudson School District Board of Education about how the schools' space issues are affecting learning. The board heard the report at River Crest Elementary School during its March 13 meeting, the final board meeting before the community will vote on the April 3 referendum to purchase the St. Croix Meadows dog track property for use as a secondary school.
"Things are bad today, but they're getting worse."
"Things are bad today, but they're getting worse," Love said during the report. "Next year we have about 50 students more estimated to join the student body over this year's current high school enrollment. This will add to already crowded classrooms in the core areas; it will increase the crowded hallways, cafeteria and other common areas; it will diminish the course offerings we have for students based on the limited spaces available. Although the spaces for learning are cramped, they will get worse within the current facility."
"I think the time is right. The opportunity is before us."
Without specifically mentioning the April 3 St. Croix Meadows referendum, Koch said, "We continue to press our staff and our students to perform at high levels. We think there needs to be a commensurate effort coming from the community to support our effort with those kids to get them as far along the continuum as possible. I think the time is right. The opportunity is before us. Decisions can be made by this community that will impact this community for years to come. I think through careful considertion and processing of the information we should be able to meet the needs of our students down the road."
Current issues at Hudson High School
Love said that in addition to the hallways and the cafeteria, the following spaces for learning are restrained or are affecting course offerings at Hudson High School:
- More than one-third of the core-area courses are already above class-size guidelines.
- The library/media center is built for a student body less than half the size of the current student body.
- The lack of adequate computer lab spaces limits course options for students.
- Art classrooms are so small that some classes have to be taught in partial classrooms and some extend into two classrooms with one teacher.
- Choir classes can be as big as 80 to 130 students, but the choir room comfortably fits about 65 students. Practice rooms also are in short supply.
- The school doesn't have enough collaborative learning spaces for activities such as academic support for AP students, guest presentations for 50-100 students, integrated academic activities and outside classes such as driver education.
- Physical education space is so limited that some classes meet in the common area outside the office area. Space is so restricted that if there were no summer school option, the school wouldn't be able to schedule all the students for this required class offering. Indoor space is so limited that some sports practices must be held late into the night.
- Only six of the 12 full-time science teachers are currently in science lab classrooms. That limits the number of hands-on labs the school can offer and the kinds of labs it can offer. Some courses, including AP biology, cannot be offered because of lab space issuse.
Current issues at Hudson Middle School
During a lengthy description of middle school students, Koch said, "They require space. Thy're growing. They require space so that we can meet their academic, social, emotional and physical needs. These are sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. These are middle-schoolers. And if I put it another way, these are 10- to 14-year olds and we have 1,307 of them under one roof."
"Our current space for learning has become an issue," Koch said. "We are in a building that was designed for 1,125 students, and next year we will have 1,307 in the building. That's too many. Something needs to be done about that."
Among the issues Koch detailed were the following:
- Most of the classrooms are about 750 square feet. The standard is at or above 900 square feet.
- The school is pressed into "emergency measures" at times because of increasing class sizes in rooms that are physically too small.
- If growth continues, efforts to maintain current student experience.
- The school currently has 16 teachers do not have their own classroom, 14 of which use carts and move from classroom to classroom.
- The middle school is using three of Hudson Prairie Elementary School's classrooms.
- Under the school's current house system, the houses were designed for 125 students. Next year the houses will average 148 in sixth grade, 142 in seventh grade and 148 in eighth grade.
- Common spaces have been reduced by the addition of 28 lockers in each house space.
- The recent construction project has helped provide adequate space for lunch, physical education and orchestra, but band and choir spaces need attention. There are over 100 students in a band and choir rooms designed for only up to 70.