Milwaukie High School, otherwise known as “Modwaukie,” is currently undergoing a full reconstruction. As the school year continues, there have been growing student concerns about safety and the future of the school. Located on the football field, the pods form rows. Raised about three feet off the ground, textured steel walkways are used as hallways. Rain or shine, students travel from class to class throughout of pods.
MHS Principal Carmen Gelman has taken these student concerns into account. She has been enjoying her experience at Milwaukie so far and considers student safety to be of utmost importance. Throughout the process of student acclimation to the pods, she and her staff have been ready to answer and respond to as many questions and concerns as possible.
Students have been concerned about emergency procedures. Speakers (connected to the intercoms) will be installed in hallways in the very near future to inform students that may be out of class during lockouts and lockdowns. “The fire procedures are currently being put into process,” says Gelman. In the most recent fire drill, students brought up concerns about the space in which classes were expected to gather in the event of a fire. If the fire were to spread, students and staff would be moved to nearby parking lots, but “We’re not moving them into any building,” explains the principal.
Isabelle Silva, a sophomore at Milwaukie Academy of the Arts, asks, “What if there is lightning?” The construction crew confirmed that because the metal walkways are grounded, lightning would not be a threat to student safety. To address the issue of rain coming down over doorways, the administration is working on installing gutters. Tent-like canopies will also be tested out in the intersections of walkways to keep students dry between classes. Milwaukie High School sophomore Andrea Quintero-Negrete said, “I feel safer in the pods. The old building would have collapsed in an earthquake, but the construction is annoying.”
The pods at Milwaukie High School are still undergoing renovations. During the next two years, students hope to become more comfortable and feel safer in the pods. The final message Principal Gelman would like students, families, and the community to hear is that “Our kids are super important to us. And for our kids to feel safe, and for our kids to feel heard, and that’s just an urgency for us too. We would do everything we could to keep our kids safe.”