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DCSS begins summer projects

DMS focus of new STEAM lab, ADA projects

The Demopolis City School System has a busy summer ahead with multiple projects underway to improve the experiences for both students and teachers at the start of the next school year.

Demopolis Middle School will be home to the school system’s biggest project of the year with the construction of a STEAM lab. Every school in Demopolis will have access to Google Expeditions, a virtual reality teaching tool that allows students to explore over 500 expeditions such as walking through a museum, swimming with sharks and visiting outer space.

In addition to Google Expeditions, the STEAM lab will be equipped with 30 virtual reality goggles and 30 Google Chromebooks, so students can experience hands-on instruction with cutting-edge technology.

“I don’t really see a day where it’s not going to be used by somebody,” Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said.

He said that the STEAM lab will be completed by August.

The middle school will also be the next site of the school system’s four-phase plan to replace all classroom smartboards with touch screen TVs, which have the added benefit of not requiring an expensive projector or bulbs to operate.

“They are five-year leases, so after five years the payments are up [and] the lease is up, and we’ll be ready for whatever the next technology is. When dealing with technology like this, we try not to purchase. We try to lease, because by the time your warranty is up, it’s old technology,” Kallhoff said.

A wheelchair ramp and lift will also be installed at the middle school during June as well as restroom modifications so that the school adheres to  the Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Each school will also get a security upgrade. Every main entrance will have an access control system, and employees will use cards to go in and out of the buildings. There will also be a buzz system and a camera system at the entrance of every campus.

“That’s one of our security enhancements,” Kallhoff said.

Other projects that will be completed this summer include more Chromebooks in Westside Elementary School, U.S. Jones Elementary School and the middle school, more computers for teachers, more security cameras in the schools and air conditioner work in the cafeteria of the middle school band room at the high school.

Funds for these projects come from local resources, the capital projects fund and money made available by the Alabama legislature of which the DCSS was eligible for $122,000.

Once the larger projects are completed, individual schools can write grants for other projects that they would like to see completed.

Kallhoff said that these projects will enhance the school experience for the students and teachers in Demopolis.

“Some of it is stuff that we should have done a long time ago, and I’m excited that were getting us to where we should be. And some of it is cutting edge, and I’m excited to be giving our teacher the tools to be their best.”

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)