Feeling a little cramped best describes Meridian Public Schools. Using every bit of space is the way they are alleviating that feeling.
"When you look at space you will see we have turned stages into classrooms, auditoriums have been turned into classrooms," says Sylvia Autry, superintendent of Meridian Public Schools.
And it doesn't stop there. Beyond money, time and test scores, space is Meridian's number one problem. At West Hills Elementary they have transformed janitor's closets into makeshift classrooms. They have done away with the school's stage, in its place a classroom. At Oakland Heights teachers have to share classrooms.
"It’s not so much our enrollment is growing, it is we are offering more programs to meet specific needs and we need more space for those programs," says Autry.
For now only creative measure can be taken to fix the problem. Any permanent fix would require a bond issue and very careful planning, something that is only reasonable in the distant future.
"If we continue to grow, we would need to look at adding more space, besides taking up space that is needed for other things," says Archie Scarbrough, facilities manager for Meridian Public Schools.
The situation for now is manageable and school superintendent Sylvia Autry remains optimistic and grateful for other things. She calls Meridian's technology cutting-edge and while test scores are still embargoed to the public she anticipates major improvements this year.
By far a huge majority of our schools saw success from their hard work. We are excited about the challenge, excited about the challenge a new group of student's brings," says Autry, and the challenge of figuring out where to put them.