New ‘West Wing’ popular at Midland

       Midland Elementary staff members think the new modular addition is pretty cool.
       During the heat of late August, the air-conditioned 10,000-square-foot facility has become the place to be in a school that otherwise has to rely on occasional fans and swamp coolers.
       Additionally, the modular is so spacious that it's housing eight classrooms - two all-day kindergarten, two first grade, two second grade, a mini-math lab and half-day English as a Second Language. There's also an open area near the restrooms that could become a small lounge.
       Nicknamed “the West Wing,” the facility has been located down a new breezeway southwest of (and perpendicular to) the existing north-south main building.
       Principal Barbara Bishop praised her building staff for doing extra work to get the building ready after District 11 had the modular transported to Midland in 11 separate sections last July. “They worked so hard,” she said. “They started in the first week of August, doing what they could to clean it up. It was a big mess. They were the heroes, and the teachers loved them.”
       The district purchased the $286,000 facility from the Renaissance Academy over the summer to relieve crowding at Midland, where enrollment increased by about 50 students last year.
       The only downside so far is that the old kindergarten playground had to be removed to make room for the modular. A covered sandbox with donated toys is currently substituting until a replacement playground can be built.
       Lucia Pelletier, an experienced kindergarten teacher who is new to Midland this year (and to having an air-conditioned classroom), said she is enjoying the space… and the cool air. “I'm thrilled to be here,” she said.

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