By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Aug 20, 2012 @ 11:58 PM
FALL RIVER - Space is at a premium at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School.
With the school bursting at the seams, Superintendent-Director Marta Montleon said among the top priorities this summer was freeing up space wherever available.
That effort, Montleon said, has meant renovating the culinary arts department to move electrical panels from the school’s kitchen to the basement, giving the office technology shops a complete facelift that includes moving to a server-based computer system. Montleon said the move to a server-based system is because space on the school’s computer system is also at a premium.
The attempts to ease some of the space crunch comes as the school enrolls 10 more freshmen than previously allowed in past years. Montleon said 375 freshmen are anticipated to show up for classes on Aug. 29.
“That was a big decision from the School Committee,” Montleon said. “We took the 365 based on the original quota and the next 10 were based strictly on scores regardless of what community they’re coming from. This will help us provide equal opportunities for admission.”
Freshmen are typically enrolled based on a formula created in the regional agreement that established Diman’s current existence in 1962. To ease some of the growing pains, Montleon said the school recently received a donation of trailers from the Brayton Point Power Station that will be used for classroom space. She said the trailers had been used as office/meeting space during the construction of cooling towers.
“We’re hoping to situate them near the building and use these as portable classrooms until the Massachusetts School Building Authority puts us on their list,” Montleon said. “It’s important we do something about space in order to move forward and provide the programs the students need for the 21st century.”
Improving the school’s use of space also means the continual adaptation of space for the female student population. As more and more girls enroll at Diman, Montleon said the school created a new girls bathroom.
“In that area we previously only had male facilities so now we have both,” Montleon said. “We have a lot of females enrolling in those shops and we’re still playing catch up and addressing that because when this building was built is was a predominately male school.”
With the student population growing slightly and no major projects online this summer, Montleon said the school has also been able to focus on establishing new programs for the coming year.
She noted the creation of a pad near the school’s main entrance that will soon become the home for photovoltaic panels. Montleon said the panels will be installed by juniors during the fall this year to provide solar energy at the school. Those juniors will return as seniors to remove the panels at the start of the next school year, allowing the next group of juniors to gain the same experience.
“We want our students to graduate with the experience needed to go into their vocational areas,” Montleon said.
Go to Diman news.