Hudson Principals Detail Space Issues at High School, Middle School

Hudson principals Laura Love, high school, and Dan Koch, middle school, presented a report to the Hudson School District Board of Education about how the schools' space issues are affecting learning.

Principal Laura Love and 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 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. 
Cheryl McCarten March 18, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Is this really new news? Did the current Board not have this information before now? Does this Board have nothing on their final agenda? If not for the upcoming elections and referendum, this could have (and SHOULD have) waited till the new Board is in place if necessary, but who needs to be sold on something that is common knowledge?
BRG March 18, 2012 at 02:25 AM
@ hudson resident: instead of commenting blindly based on what you have read, go spend a day, or even an hour, at each of these buildings. Better yet, connect with a student and ask them about the issues mentioned. Then maybe you will have what you need to BRING YOU INTO REALITY! Nobody is "whining", except YOU! Facts are facts! Hudson is well past the days of your imagined one room schoolhouse days! Reality is reality...stop pretending that the community doesn't have needs beyond your own interests and your own bottom line.
country boy March 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Another sales pitch from the administration. Poor planning from the District over the last decade has paved the way for millions of dollars to be spent. The education minions are at it again...akin to the community organizers' responsible for the Hudson library fiasco.
Frazzle March 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM
All the issues outlined involve the common areas. How aboutbwe loom at how to expand those? Instead of building a 80 million dollar school. There may be some classroom issues but from what I am reading again it seems ti be mostly common areas or with elective courses. I would like to see them investigate adding on to the current school. They could build up. 2 story schools do exist and it would solve the problem and cost us less. The middle school well now. They received 2 million dollars and did not add one classroom for general studies. This is another subject matter. My frustration is they continue to build schools undersized. They state te standard classroom is to be 900 ft. Ours are 750? Is that a new standard? Build it right from the start. Rivercrest was also built too small.
Frazzle March 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Typos above due to smart phone. That's an ironic statement.
Hudson Resident March 18, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Despite all of the illegally placed signs, talking point letters to the editor, worthless blogs, 1000 person ad in the hso, etc,, etc., etc. this referendum will go down in flames. They're not only whiners, but they're also LOSERS.....
Dan Bushman March 18, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I was at the school board meeting, and I realized they were focusing on what affects the school building itself that affect learning, as the subtitle calls out. When I was on the 2004 task force and we looked at build-up or build-out on the current HS, the huge problem came down to with more students and more teachers comes more cars, too. That means more parking lot, a drain pond, etc. and that site is too small for that, unless you want to forego basically all the outdoor athletic area for sports teams and phy ed. And I've heard many times that Hudson as a community just really loves to drive our kids to school, and we're only doing that more and more. The middle school's traffic design really didn't have the traffic volume that it's getting designed into it. People sometimes say "just don't let students drive to school. HS kids can take the bus." You can be in charge of making that happen. Good luck to ya!
Hudson Resident March 18, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Just more excuses from the vote yes crowd. You can buy an old dog track for $8.25 Million, spend another $70-80 Million building a new facility plus fill it with new employees but you can't work with the existing buildings. You people are amazing.
Hudson Resident March 18, 2012 at 02:22 PM
And one more thing Mr. Bushman. Has Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten released the phone numbers of the parents in the district to your group without their knowledge so that you can do a phone calling campaign? This happens to be against the law Mr. Bushman.
Dan Bushman March 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
And that has not happened. No one bit. The school district has not provided anything of the sort. Past campaigns have lists of numbers. Parents are calling parents. We are 100% doing things within the rules and laws.
Frazzle March 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Mr. Bushman. Why don't you all consider a parking ramp. Again parking can also be built up. Parking ramps do exist at schools. Or only hand out so many parking stickers. Then the student's will need to figure it out. This is not rocket science. We r not remaking the wheel. I think you all enjoy making up excuses so you can build this school. I would rather keep the current school expand on it and the parking and use the UU land maybe for an athletic facility. Anyone talk about that? We would not need to have the city annex in an athletic facility .
Hudson Resident March 18, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Sure you're working within the law Dan. All of your signs have been legally place too haven't they? And how about school board members using private email lists like those from the hockey association or basketball association to push your big spending agenda? Your chances of winning this referendum are slim at best and you know it. And even if you do, your chances of getting the property rezoned are even slimmer. Sounds like great planning to me.....
Sara Tolbert March 22, 2012 at 05:41 AM
I can't help but add that the serious bullying limits learning as well. How about we deal with that while we're at it? I've have a hard time supporting anything regarding the school district. I have helped you by removing my daughter from the middle school. There is an extra seat for ya...:) Good luck on this building issue.
Cheryl McCarten March 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM
A side question: High School Prinicpal, Laura Love is quick to detail all the space issues, but then how does it make make sense that she cut passing time from seven minutes to five this year?? Was this to make the the halls and sidewalks even more crowded and frenzied? Was it to answer for the fiasco lack of school hours last year? I think she got very lucky this year that winter was minimal... Just saying...
Micheal Foley March 22, 2012 at 01:04 PM
She addressed that as well, Cheryl. She said that with longer passing times, students tended to gather and socialize in key hallway junctions, which caused congestion and led to behavioral issues. You can watch video of the entire meeting at http://riverchannel.org.


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