As the construction at the new Watertown High School campus continues, several significant additions for both faculty and students begin to appear.
According to principal Jeff Luttrell, the new campus will give every teacher his or her own classroom, something that is not available at the current school.
“We’ve got four floating teachers right now,” Luttrell said.
There are several other areas of the school that will change and, in some cases, be completely new. Luttrell mentioned the library would be “drastically larger” and “up-to-date with the latest technology.”
One area where the school is currently experiencing issues is with its band. Luttrell said the band students are currently housed in a portable.
“Our band is in a portable right now. We feel fortunate to have it, but practicing 25 to 30 kids in a portable is a challenge.”
At the new school, the band will have its own area for practices, meetings and storage.
“The band room will be similar to those at Lebanon and Mt. Juliet,” said Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall. “They’ll have a large room for the practices, a storage room for their equipment, small rooms for the individual sections to practice and a conference room to talk about performances. They won’t have to be outside to go to band.”
The school auditorium will also be quite a bit larger at the new facility. Luttrell said the school’s current theater seats around 400, and Hall said the auditorium at the new school would hold 680. Along with larger seating capacity, Luttrell said the stage area itself would be larger, giving the drama department and others who utilize the stage more flexibility.
The school’s sports programs will get a boost as each team will have its own facilities. Hall said all sports, including soccer, baseball, softball, football, tennis and track and field will have dedicated fields and locker room spaces on campus.
“We’ve had a great relationship with the city of Watertown for the use of their baseball and softball field,” Luttrell said, but he added it would be good for all of the sports to be on campus.
He mentioned in the current school, areas, including the locker rooms and weight room, are not adequate space for the athletes’ use.
“Their weight room facility will be drastically larger and allow us to have more equipment. Our locker room is just cramped.”
Another possibility that opens up with the new school is the possibility for cross-country meets.
“We are confident that we will be able to establish a cross-country course and the ability to hold meets,” Luttrell said.
Aside from all of the extras – on-campus sports facilities and the new areas for the band – Luttrell said there is one obvious, and needed, difference between the current campus and the soon-to-be-open new school.
“The biggest difference will be parking,” he said. “There will be a lot more parking on the new campus.”
Currently, the school has about 150 spaces on the entire campus, and Hall said the new facility would have space for 800 vehicles.
“The original part of Watertown High School, the part next to the football field, was built in 1937. Things like [parking spaces] just weren’t thought of back then.”
Luttrell said he is grateful that the new parking area will eliminate the need for parking on the roadways near the school, as happens many times during football and basketball games.
“We are lucky to be in a community where that has not been much of a problem,” he said.
Hall said the new high school is on track to be complete just before May 1.