Sprague is the latest Salem high school to get a makeover

Kimo Mahi classes at Sprague High School are often full, with 38 students wanting to learn more about first aid and rehabilitation.

Mahi teaches in the school’s sports medicine program, a popular option for students seeking professional technical training.

They are now able to take better care of the school’s athletes – and learn in the process – with larger classrooms and an expanded training area, as part of a major Sprague renovation completed this autumn.

Sprague is the fifth of the district’s comprehensive high schools to undergo a facelift and expand under a 2018 school building program approved by local voters.

The $47 million project was completed at the start of the school year after about a year and a half of construction. West Salem High School is the latest district high school to be renovated, with work expected to be completed in the spring.

Students in a new computer-aided design classroom at Sprague High School on Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Sprague opened in 1972 and currently serves approximately 1,670 students. It didn’t face the same crowding as large high schools in the district when the building program was developed, but many school programs were in less than ideal spaces to help students learn.

Now, instead of a regular classroom, Mahi students can practice their skills in a rehabilitation room with comfortable seating and a range of athletic bands, bandages and other supplies. The area has its own garage door that opens at 7 a.m. so Sprague students who need help can come in and be seen by another Olympian who has practiced the art of ankle binding.

The new space also means it’s much easier for teachers to teach practical skills like CPR with more floor space for students to learn.

“We can spread out our larger classes,” Mahi said.

New spaces for career and technical programs were a major feature of the reconstruction. The school’s video production program now has purpose-built equipment, including a green screen for filming and a control room.

“The space is amazing,” said Chris Nolan, the video production teacher.

The new control room for video production classes at Sprague High School on Wednesday, October 19 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Previously, students had to film items for the class in the school library and had no dedicated space, making professional-quality production difficult and limiting what they could do, the principal said. Chad Barkes. Now, he hopes the program can collaborate with other Sprague offerings, such as making marketing videos for the student store or other business programs.

Two new science rooms have also been added to better facilitate labs and a larger dining hall that can accommodate any students who wish to eat there.

“Everyone comes to a main area now,” Barkes said of the school lunch. A widened hallway between parts of the building means that students don’t have to go outside to go between classes.

Principal Chad Barkes inspects the expanded dining hall at Sprague High School on Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Kent Porter, the school’s senior student body vice president, said the school’s new spaces “look amazing” and he can see the impact on his classmates, especially in the programs. career technique.

Two special education classrooms have also been added to a space that previously housed three. Larger areas make it easier for teacher aides to work with students in small groups, and the special education wing now has a kitchen to help teach life skills and a breakout room. bath with shower for students who need it.

“It feels so good to me because they’re getting what they need from Sprague,” Porter said of the new classrooms.

The school has also opened a Quiet Room, a former spa-like classroom with couches, plants, and quiet areas where students who need a break or want to relax can go. District schools are increasingly adding such spaces as a tool to address student mental health needs.

“Getting that calm and peace is so nice,” Porter said.

The Quiet Room at Sprague High School on Wednesday, October 19. The new space is meant to give students a place to relax (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)
An expanded shower and bathroom are part of Sprague High School’s new special education classrooms on Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Contact journalist Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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