Principal Chipman on South School renovation progress

By Benjamin Cox on December 14, 2018 at 8:31am

The lone South Jacksonville representative in the collection of district 117 buildings has been given a makeover in 2018. With plans to continue making improvements in the near future, the school’s administration is excited to show off the progress made so far.

Since the South Elementary School renovations began at the end of last school year, the scope of potential community impact has expanded even past the boundaries of the school. For example, Dewey Drive, the main path that runs next to the school, has been freshly paved, offering a new road quality in direct correlation to the new construction projects at the school. This also helped the village of South Jacksonville, as an updated Village Hall parking lot was performed by the same company that did Dewey Drive.

Tim Chipman is in his first year as Principal at South Elementary School. Chipman says he is happy to welcome the public to South Elementary early next year, as District 117 has scheduled an official open house and ribbon cutting for January 15th.

“It’s a very exciting time for South Elementary School. In the end, I think we’re going to have a facility that matches the integrity and passion that the faculty and staff bring to students. It’s been a work in progress, but it’s been a joyful progress to see the renovations come together, indoors and out. We hope that on January 15th we will get the opportunity to show the public and taxpayers a glimpse into this 21st century facility that has been created.”

Chipman describes the evolving capabilities of education in the 21st century.

“What was really enchanting to me at first was the idea that chalkboards are, of course, a thing of the past. But even whiteboards are becoming somewhat of an outdated tool. So every classroom is equipped with a Promethean board which also serves as the classroom computer. Teachers have the ability to expand text or move windows on the Promethean board all at their fingertips. Each classroom is also equipped with a set of Chromebooks, so students have access to that technology. Now we understand that technology is not a panacea or an end-all-be-all, but we know in this day and age our students need to be technologically proficient as they go out into the workforce someday.”

Chipman explains that, though the entire gymnasium aspect of new South School construction will not be completed in time for the January 15th open house, there is already progress and a familiar South Elementary feature to enjoy.

“The gymnasium walls and windows have been renovated, and the floor will be completed during the summer of 2019. That’s a gathering point for the school, and a point of pride. We have monthly assemblies where we gather the student body in the gymnasium, physical education classes, and mother’s volleyball. Also, one unique fact about the gym as it stands now is the old South Elementary School signage that was outside has now been indoors and mounted in the gym. I think it’s been a lot of fun for alumni and former teachers to come back and see that the former outdoors sign is shining and shimmering once again, just indoors now.”

Tours of South Elementary School as part of the January 15th open house will begin at 5 p.m.