By Sterling McGinn

Students and teachers are back in the classrooms and hallways of Tahquamenon Area Schools (TAS), as the school year began Monday, September 11. Originally slated for August 28, the start of the school year was postponed for two weeks after supply delays forced construction projects past their deadlines.

“We are excited for the school year to start and have students back in the halls and classrooms,” said TAS Superintendent Stacy Price.

But there will be more work taking place this fall.

Price said that contractors are still on site as the school year begins. “The work that they will be doing will involve the future 7-12 building space.” This area is the former junior high school located on the second floor of the elementary school. High school students will be moved from the old 1926 high school once the entire project is finished. The old high school will eventually be closed down.

Construction work will also take place after school hours. Crews will be working to install lighting that still hasn’t arrived for areas in the gym and cafeteria.

Work on the future band and music area and the K-6 art rooms will also be going on during the school year. The former elementary gymnasium will be fitted for the band and music rooms. The old middle school woodshop will serve as the K-6 art room.

In addition to ongoing construction, students will also see other changes in and around the facility.

“There are a lot of changes this year,” Price said. “Changes in staff, change in building, and change in some routines.”

In staffing, TAS has hired Catherine Clark as the K-12 music and band teacher, who will replace Ryan Wilson. Wilson recently resigned from the district. Katie Staley is the new K-6 health and physical education teacher and teacher Erin McNamara has moved to the position of K-6 math interventionist. Jessica Huffman will be a behavioral interventionist.

“We will be able to provide extra support in the K-6 building with reading and math interventionists and behavioral support paraprofessionals,” Price said.

There will also be several combination grade classrooms in the elementary this year. One will be a combination of some 3rd and 4th grades and the other classroom will have 5th and 6th graders together.

Due to changes in bus runs, all K-12 grade students will be eating breakfast in their classrooms instead of the cafeteria.

Construction has also delayed the school open house for parents. That event will now take place on Wednesday, September 20 from 6-7 p.m.

Price said the school will hold an open house in the future to invite the public to see the upgrades and renovations.