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Jan 17th, 2001

New Whiteside School plan has everyone excited

By Carolyn P. Smith

BELLEVILLE  --  Junior high
students at Whiteside School are beside themselves with happiness because they are finally getting a new school.
     It will cost more than $10 million, with more than $6 million coming from a state grant.
     At a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, officials said they had waited a lifetime to build a new school.  Doing it meant overcoming numerous obstacles, including
finding a new location for the school.
     Whiteside Board President Sally Nettemeyer said the city of Belleville would not give the district a variance for the piece of property they wanted across the street from where the current school is located on Lebanon Avenue.
     Officials hope the new school will be completed by the end of the year.
     Thirteen-year-old Randy Johnson's eyes lit up as he talked about how happy he was

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ZIA NIZAMI/News-Democrat

Students from kindergarten through  eighth-grade participated in an indoor "groundbreaking" in the Whiteside gym.

that he would not have to go to school with little children.
     The seventh-grader said he was eagerly looking forward to eighth- grade at the new 82,000 square-feet junior high school, which will house 700 junior high students.  It will have 22 classrooms, twocomputer labs, three science labs, two art labs, a band room, a 3,600 square-foot media library, and a gym with a stage and locker rooms and bleachers for 772 students.
     Randy talked excitedly about smelling new paint, learning in new classrooms and running

up and down a new basketball court.
    His friend, Jeffrey Dixon, was just as enthused.  "We have had fun here, but we are ready to go.  We want to go to school with just the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth- graders."
     Another student, Ashlyn Joshway, an eighth-grader said the new school is long overdue.  She said even though it was not built in time for her to attend, she's happy for those who will be the first.
     The new school will be built in Shiloh about a mile east of the current school on Lebanon Avenue next to a home for retired priests and a daycare center, said Arthur A. Hayhurst, an architect with Mevert Professional Associates.
     Superintendent Karen Meng said Whiteside has eight trailers and about 300 students in them.  She said it has been "very difficult for us to watch our students being educated in a trailer."
     "In snow or rain the students have had to walk through it to get to their classes in the main building, eat lunch or to use the bathrooms," Meng said.

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