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Dublin Celebrates New Wells Middle School Humanities “B” Building with Emotional Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

November 21, 2013
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

A few November raindrops were not going to prevent the Dublin community from celebrating the newest teaching structure on the campus of Wells Middle School. On Wednesday evening, a formal ceremony was conducted to christen the new Humanities building that will house all English and History instruction. Highlights from this project include a new Library/Media center and 14 state-of-the-art classrooms.

This new structure was made possible by Phase 2 Measure C funds. The planning and design for this project started in 2010 with construction starting in the summer of 2012. A pleasant surprise was that the move-in was projected to occur during the Winter break. However, construction was moving very smoothly and on budget. As an outcome, certificated staff members were able to move into their new classroom during the weekend of Halloween – a full seven weeks ahead of schedule.

For those familiar with this school site, it’s been an interesting odyssey. The previously existing round classroom structure was largely demolished. The original building offered very little natural sunlight in the classrooms and the design offered very little continuity. As the destruction and construction occurred, portable classrooms were installed on the west end of the campus. By the early portion of 2013, B building really began to take shape. Not long after the framing was installed, it was obvious to see that the infrastructure, glass, stucco and other elements were not far behind. As the school year commenced, landscaping was in place and it was evident that occupation of this new space was at hand.

All of these accomplishments were recognized by the Wells community. The Lion’s Club graciously provided a hot dog/chips/drinks dinner for the early arrivers. In advance of the ceremony, the Wells Middle School Jazz Band provided their unique brand of entertainment. After brief statements by local luminaries among the Dublin Unified School District staff, trustees and Principal Dr. Grier, Mayor Tim Sbranti offered probably the most poignant moment of the night. The disappearance of Wells student Ilene Misheloff in 1989 continues to be unsolved. In 2002, the WMS library was dedicated in her name. On this auspicious night, the new media center was re-dedicated on behalf of Ms. Misheloff. To make matters complete, Ilene’s parents, Mike and Maddi were in attendance. It was a fitting tribute that left the crowd appreciative of what they were about to see.

In order to gain perspective from a Certificated Staff member on the new improvements at Wells, we tapped U.S. History teacher, Charlie Belveal. Mr. Belveal is a graduate of Chico State University and entered into the teaching profession in 1997. He is presently the History Department chairperson and has previously taught Core in all three grade levels. Additionally, he has been a primary organizer of the annual trip to Washington D.C.

OneDublin.org: As a Certificated member that taught out of the “round” building and then into a portable classroom over the past year, please describe what it has meant to you to move into a new teaching space.

Charlie Belveal

Charlie Belveal

Charlie Belveal: “I was in room A-3 for twelve years and I was very sad to leave my old room. Moving into the portable was a necessary part of that change. Once we saw the new building being constructed, excitement started to set in. The new building and my classroom are both amazing.”

OneDublin.org: Wells represents a “legacy” middle school in the city of Dublin. How do you view the campus today vs. the way that it looked when you first arrive on campus?

Belveal: “When I first arrive at Wells, there was not an H building. There were portables where the present day lunch pavilion is located and of course there were the old round buildings, so I have seen a lot of change over the years. Now, there are times when walking around the campus that I get a collegiate feel, and that is something special.”

OneDublin.org: Please describe how your students have responded to their new surroundings.

Belveal: “The students have responded to the new building with excitement. Many of them have commented on the new technology in the classroom, including the large screen monitors and a number of students mentioned that they thought the building reminded them of college.”

OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would like to add?

Belveal: “I am extremely excited for our students to be able to come to a new modern-day building. On behalf of the History and English departments, we are grateful to the City of Dublin for passing Measure C and for allowing our students to have such a wonderful place to come and to learn.”

To complete our story, we wanted to extend an invitation to Principal Dr. Kevin Grier and gain his perspective on this campus transformation.

OneDublin.org: As a now third-year Administrator at Wells, please comment on the physical changes that you have witnessed at the site since your arrival.

Principal Grier (right) with Project Manager Russ Brooking

Principal Grier (right) with Russ Brooking

Kevin Grier: “Over the past few years, I have seen the Wells campus transform into a wonderful place focused on educating the whole child. The Dublin Unified School District has focused on becoming a PLC and with the addition of the new building, the WMS campus has now been reorganized to have all English and History teachers in one building and all of the Science and Math teachers to be in another building, thus enabling easier informal collaboration in the hallways. The addition of the new Humanities building adds amazing elements to student learning such as the very crisp and clear 80” LED monitors in each room that allow for students to be able to see the notes without having to turn out all of the lights and draw blinds.”

OneDublin.org: The move-in to the new Humanities structure occurred ahead of schedule and on-budget. Please comment on your staff’s reaction to their new surroundings.

Grier: “It was truly thanks to our project manager, Russ Brooking, Roebbelen Contracting and the district facilities department that allowed the completion of this huge project to be ahead of time and on budget. There are many features that the staff enjoys and there are many other features that they are learning more about to be able to maximize all of the new features that have not been available to them in their previous classrooms.”

OneDublin.org: As WMS has been an active construction site for so many months, add a statement on how the student population has been able to manage themselves through this transition.

Grier: “It has been nearly 15 months since this process has begun. The staff and students hardly skipped a beat throughout the entire process as pathways were adjusted, parking lots were opened and closed, smelly hot tar was applied to the roof and loud noises emanated from the new building. I applaud every Wells’ staff member, student and parent for their patience and endurance during this process. I truly believe that it was worth every bit of inconvenience.”

It was a joyous night – a night that the school district and its local community looked forward to celebrating. At times, bond measures may seem obtuse and somewhat difficult to envision on the surface. However, on nights like these, they joy is in the experience. OneDublin.org would like to commend all staff, students and families for making this a memorable event.

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