A new look at FDSH

Millions in improvements unveiled to the public at open house

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Don Miller, former Fort Dodge wrestling coach and athletic director, left, visits with John McBride, of Fort Dodge, Monday night in the learning commons, an area that is part of the new Freshman Academy at Fort Dodge Senior High.

Each of the remodeled spaces at Fort Dodge Senior High, including the Freshman Academy, auxiliary gym, wrestling room, and locker room spaces are complete.

Administration with the Fort Dodge Community School District hosted guided tours of the new facilities Monday night.

The projects were all part of the $27 million general obligation bond, which passed almost two years ago.

Below is a summary of those facilities.

Freshman Academy

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kenneth Hayes, Fort Dodge Senior High principal, shows off the new locker rooms at the school. Guided tours of the new facilities at FDSH were offered Monday night.

The academy is designed to ease incoming students into the high school atmosphere by placing a majority of their classrooms in one designated area of the school, according to FDSH Principal Kenneth Hayes.

The space occupies 19,865 square feet.

Goals for the academy include 95 percent or higher attendance rate, completion of 15 to 18 credits by the end of ninth grade, increased exposure to extra curricular activities, and stronger relationships with staff and peers.

Some features include dividing walls which allow for more collaboration between classes, a learning commons, which is an area outside of the classrooms designed for flexible teaching, small group instruction, independent work, and team meetings.

Exterior windows that allow natural light to come into the corridor where the academy is located is another feature designed to enhance the educational experience.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Caiden Fraher, 10, a fourth-grader at Duncombe Elementary School, looks over one of the newly remodeled classrooms at Fort Dodge Senior High Monday night.

Three English teachers, two math teachers, two social studies teachers, two science teachers, two special education teachers, a Spanish teacher, and a counselor are staffed specifically for the academy. A freshman counselor is located just outside of the academy for easy access.

English classrooms and a counseling area were also added as part of this project.

In all, 16 classrooms were renovated.

Two classrooms were moved to the library area. Part of the library was remodeled with a similar design to the Freshman Academy.

According to Doug Van Zyl, superintendent, the district may look to update the rest of the library in the next phase of facility updates.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
A class of 2021 sign is shown outside of the Freshman Academy at Fort Dodge Senior High.

An update to the library was not included in the bond.

Auxiliary gym

The auxiliary gym is being used for additional practices, freshmen and Junior Varsity games, physical education, and leadership training, among other activities.

The space occupies 9,141 square feet. It includes three basketball courts and three volleyball courts.

The gym offers seating for about 200 people. The previous auxiliary gym had limited seating.

It can be accessed by the public without having to enter the main building.

Sixty-seven parking spaces are outside of the gym. That parking is accessible for all students and staff.

Locker rooms

The locker rooms provide an equal amount of space for boys and girls athletics.

Two boys locker rooms and two girls locker rooms are included in the 11,016-square-foot space.

A coaches office, physical therapy center, officials locker, physical education instructor’s office, are also included.

The space also provides more efficient heating and cooling.

A team huddle area featuring an overhead projector and whiteboards allow coaches to go over plays with players.

New solid plastic lockers have replaced the previous metal lockers.

Wrestling room

At 6,678 square feet, the new wrestling room is double the size of the old one.

Wrestling practices, small tournaments, and cheerleading practices are held inside the space.

The wrestling room features improved air quality and ventilation.

Bikes, treadmills, and physical therapy services are also offered there.

For photos of the wrestling room, see The Messenger’s Sports section.


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