Signs of construction begin on GJHS campus

The GJHS community eagerly looks forward to a new school building, however the detailed plans and new ideas have arisen may become challenging.

A bond to build a new Grand Junction High School building was passed by voters in November 2021 with 65 percent support. It was the culmination of the Tiger community’s long-lasting goal to replace the dilapidated building we call school.

The 2021 bond that granted the Tigers the new school to replace the 1956 building provides $140 million. The measure approved by voters changed from the 2019 failed effort, for both the better and the worse.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this: It’s going to be difficult,” said GJHS principal of four years, Meghan Roenicke.

One of the biggest and most impactful changes is that plans for the new school will introduce the idea of teachers becoming ‘traveling teachers.’ Instead of owning a classroom, teachers will have offices and will switch rooms during different periods based on what they are teaching. Among other things, that means classrooms will not go unused during teacher planning time.

Roenicke believes that this newly introduced change that the new building will present is going to take some time to adjust to.

“I would say initially I was concerned because my whole teaching style and my whole process of teaching students is through hands on and through artifacts in my classroom, but it did make me realize that good teachers can learn how to adjust and can learn how to make their environment still positive and make their environment a great learning experience regardless of what you have,” said Justin Whiteford, a social studies teacher who has been working at Grand Junction High School for 26 years.

When students come back from summer break in fall 2022, they can expect the building process to be under way. The plan for the new school to be finished by the end of 2024 is still anticipated. This means that upperclassmen at Grand Junction High School will not be able to experience attending this new school.

“I’m mostly just happy that we’re getting [a new school] and the younger students like my little brother will get to experience it,” said Laurel Collins, a senior at Grand Junction High School.

Younger students will get to experience the old building, watch the building process on the north side of the school property, and then move into the new school.

“I’m really looking forward to the new building layout because the classes will be all together and not in a bunch of separate places,” said Zoe Plumb, a freshman at Grand Junction High School.

  Although some plans for the new school may include changes not everyone likes, students and staff at Grand Junction High School can finally say that they are getting a new school.