Let’s rebuild the middle school | AspenTimes.com

Let’s rebuild the middle school

Dear Editor:When my family first moved to Aspen I entered fifth grade at Aspen Middle School. That was over 30 years ago. Recently, due to some well-publicized events beyond my control, I have had the wonderful opportunity to substitute teach at both Aspen Middle School and Aspen High School. The contrast is stark, and not because of the age of the students. I graduated from AHS in 1982, but the building, the facility, and its amenities, are almost unrecognizable. It is a truly state-of-the art building that the entire community should be proud of, and happy with the bond we passed to pay for it. Students at AHS are getting a great education because they have access to a terrific facility.Aspen Middle School, by contrast, looks pretty much the same as it did over three decades ago. In fact, with the exception of some minor remodeling, very little has changed since the building opened. Unfortunately the technology and needs of the students have changed. And, like a flower growing beyond its small pot, Aspen Middle School can no longer accommodate the needs and requirements of its current and future students. The physical classrooms are too small and can’t be expanded. The lockers are dilapidated and tiny (my locker from fifth grade is still there!) and students’ books and other possessions don’t fit.But, most importantly the middle school is not “tech-friendly.” The building does not accommodate wireless computers, “smart boards” (which allow the teacher and students to project video, Internet and other computer content on an interactive whiteboard in the classroom) and other technology that has proven so successful at the high school. Because the building was built long before the Internet and tech revolution, holes must be drilled through firewalls just to try to put in the new, necessary technology. The physical plant is simply no longer able to adequately educate our students for the high-tech world of the 21st century. A project of this size, scope, and cost is not without pitfalls. And I respect the concerns of some citizens; however, construction costs will only become larger, and the education of our children is far too important to wait. It is time to build for our future, now. Please vote yes on 3A and 3B.Tony HersheyAspen