School receives face lift over summer break


photo or infographic by Emily Meachen

WET PAINT. The school underwent several different changes over the summer.

by Jason Clark, VOW staff

The smell of fresh paint. The vibrant colors of the new carpets. Familiar places becoming new again. The school underwent a renovation this summer and the changes can be seen everywhere, from the cafeteria’s new signs to the gym’s freshly done floors.

The process to renovate the high school began as a plan to renovate smaller parts of the school, but soon turned into something bigger.

“The high school renovations initially began during the summer of 2019 when we repainted the freshman wing,” principal Stephanie Hodgins said. “The original idea was to repaint the entire main building little by little each summer until the project was completed. Unfortunately, because of the expenses associated with the COVID-19 crisis, we were not able to work on any of these renovations during the summer of 2020. However, by the time the 2020-21 school year started rolling, one of our students, Julian Roscom, approached me with the idea of renovating the library to make it more inviting for students. What began as a relatively simple project originally discussed as updated paint and furniture in the library morphed into the rebirth of our original renovation idea from 2019.”

With the new look comes new opinions on how the school looks and functions.

“I like it,” freshman Niya McGowen said.

Though students new to Willis high school never had the opportunity to see the school in its previous state, they have comments regardless.

“I’m new here,” senior Ezra Doak said. “But I like it.”

There were, however, some criticisms alongside the compliments.

“I like how the cafeteria looks,”  junior Abby Tullis said. “But the gyms are pretty ugly. The cafeteria looks new and updated, but the gyms are bland and boring.”

Alongside the new cosmetic change the school underwent, more technical changes were made as well, with notable examples being the cafeteria’s new technology.

“Yeah, I like what they’ve done with the cafeteria, ” junior Dominic Fonseca said. “One thing that annoys me though are the TVs. I’m trying to see what’s for lunch, then it switches to something else.”

During the renovation many smaller changes were made to the building that the majority of the high school  population would miss but would still be essential in the process to make the high school look its best.

“I saw them renovating during the summer,” senior Jeffery Blaker said. “I was glad they fixed some stuff, like this one letter that was obviously upside down.”

After hours of work over the summer, the high school is looking better than ever.

“I absolutely love the renovations!” Hodgins said. “The contractors worked all summer long to beautify our campus and I could not be happier with the results! The new carpet paired with the crisp gray walls has given our classrooms new life, and I know the staff and students appreciate the effort that went into updating our building.”