Extensive Meridian High School Renovation Celebrated at Ribbon Cutting
February 13, 2018 – Meridian High School celebrated the grand opening of their new administrative offices, classrooms and commons at a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted February 6. Plant facility funds and School Bond 2015 funded these remodel and addition projects, revitalizing the district’s oldest high school facility.
“I have been a teacher and administrator in four school districts in Idaho and I can say with confidence that Meridian High School is the most special building I have ever worked in,” boasted Principal Jill Lilienkamp. “I am humbled and proud to not only be the leader of this organization, but to be a part of the team that learns here every day.”
Hummel Architects designed and CM Company, Inc. constructed the facility remodel and addition projects. The enrollment capacity of Meridian High School has increased from 1,800 to 2,200 students. This enrollment increase provides space to relieve overcrowding at Rocky Mountain and Mountain View high schools. Facility design, construction and building fees cost $29,179,786.
Regional Director Geoff Stands was part of Meridian High School’s staff for 16 of his 22 years so far with West Ada School District. He refers to it as his home base, and he was principal when these renovations began in 2012. He explained the initial improvements caused little disturbance to instruction. When changes began inside of the building, staff and construction crews reviewed schedules so interruptions were minimal.
“We had a positive culture at Meridian High, but this gave us something to look forward to,” Stands shared of the facility improvements. “Walking through the tape and zones was unlike anything we had experienced. We knew it was not the building defining us, but our students were worth it. Our community saw the need for facility and equipment upgrades and made them possible.”
Senior English teacher Sara Daly showed alumni and former staff members her new classroom following the ribbon cutting ceremony. The new rolling tables and chairs allow flexibility in how the classroom is set up, the skylight window provides natural light, and the better-insulated walls of the new classrooms keep students comfortable during instruction.
“Everything and everyone is so bright,” boasted Daly. “Above the commons, at the top of the stairs, there is an open space with tables for students. In the morning, there are always groups of students at the tables finishing their homework or helping each other. It is nice to see the students working together in a comfortable space.”
Daly explained the building now feels as cheerful as the people inside. “Having a warm and inviting learning environment enables students and teachers to be more thoughtful and productive.”
Descriptions of the projects provided by CM Company, Inc. are available for view at the Meridian High School Renovation and Addition webpage.
A diesel technology lab will be ready for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Twenty-four students can sit in the classroom of the new facility, which also boasts a lab with computer stations and training engines, and a truck bay with space for moving large vehicles on post lifts.
“The facility is somewhat centrally located in the district and is where we house other skilled and technical sciences programs such as automotive technology and collision repair. Plus, we offer the welding pathway as well which is a nice pairing with diesel technology,” said Staci Low, Director of Career and Technical Education. “Next year we plan to offer two levels, diesel technology I open to 10th-graders, and diesel technology II open to 11th-graders. We will then offer diesel technology III the following school year.”
Schematics for the diesel technology lab are available in the November 14, 2017 School Board meeting minutes.
Construction of a performing arts auditorium will begin this fall to replace the current auditorium, which only seats 125 audience members.
Continuing Strong School Tradition
“Our new building is a symbol for a new beginning at Meridian High School and what we have stood for since 1904 and what we will continue to strive for,” explained Lilienkamp at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “With a new building our staff and students chose to adopt a new mission statement last year - warrior strong.”