Manual counselors move offices due to construction

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Manual counselors move offices due to construction

Manual counselors had to move offices due to construction. Photo by EP Presnell

Manual counselors had to move offices due to construction. Photo by EP Presnell

Manual counselors had to move offices due to construction. Photo by EP Presnell

Manual counselors had to move offices due to construction. Photo by EP Presnell

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This story was submitted by Angel Cathey (10, J&C)

Counselors at Manual have been moved from their normal office to Noe Middle during the summer and now to different parts of Manual due to renovation at Manual, which has totals adding up to $34 million.

The clerks, Ms. Sanders and Mrs Just, have moved into the back of the library. Mrs. Johnston and Mrs. Medley moved to room 221, and Mrs. Meeron moved to room 151 A. Mrs. Leslie had a room as well, but eventually had to move to the art annex to make room for the health class which needed a new classroom.  

Michelle Leslie became a counselor at Manual in 2013. She and three other counselors (Mrs. Medley, Mrs. Meeron and Mrs. Johnston) had offices in the guidance center.

Mrs. Leslie’s office never moved until renovations came into the picture. All of the counselors and clerks typically work very closely together, and being in close proximity to one another helps tremendously with how they do their work. 

Mrs. Leslie had been in her previous office for seven years. Students from all magnets were welcome to come to the office receive support for college, classes or other various problems. Whether it be academic, college, career or persona development, the counselors were available in their office for all students. Many students came to the office to just speak with counselors or to check up on the counselors, no matter the time. 

Before the counselors had to move, Mrs. Leslie liked her office arrangement. 

“I absolutely love where the office is. I have a wonderful office that has huge windows and doors where I can look out onto the world. I wouldn’t want to trade that for anything,” Mrs. Leslie said. 

In summer 2019, however, the counselors were notified that Manual would be going under renovation. They had to move to Noe Middle School and work out of offices over there for the summer. 

“When we went to Noe, the staff was so gracious and helpful. It’s nice to know that we have sweet neighbors who will always help us in a pinch…and vice versa,” Mrs. Leslie said. 

After the summer, the counselors returned to their normal office for about four months at the beginning of the year. Then they had to moved once again to different classrooms around the school. 

The clerks went into the back of the library. Mrs. Johnston and Mrs. Medley moved to room 221, and Mrs. Meeron moved to room 151 A. Mrs. Leslie had a room as well, but eventually had to move to the art annex to make room for the health class which needed a new classroom. 

Although they were somewhat inconvenienced by the move, Ms. Leslie noted how important it is to have an updated office. 

“I could see the impression that we were making on visitors when they came to visit. It’s like your home; you want visitors to see your place favorably.”

She also noted that the counselors were very excited about the renovations after looking around and seeing how much work Manual needed.

They knew the construction would eventually affect them because they felt that most of Manual’s interior could use some attention. 

“There would be times I would walk past a part of the school and think back to how bad the environment actually was,” Mrs. Leslie said.

Work at Manual started in February and will focus on modernizing the school’s HVAC and electrical systems. Other improvements include a partial roof replacement and interior renovations. 

Interior reconfiguration work will include changing the office suites and principal’s office suite, adding a security vestibule to the front lobby, patches and repairs throughout and flooring upgrades. 

Susan Biasiolli,  director of facility planning for Jefferson County Public Schools, said in an interview that about 27,000 square feet of the school will see some type of reconfiguration.

Not only has the renovation affected the counselors, it has made a lot of organization for the school year difficult.

In the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, staff switched schedules and moved classrooms to accommodate the construction. Administrators moved students around the building, requiring some classes to accommodate more students than usual.  

Students received schedules with uncertain classes and room numbers. The teachers and students knew that they had a long road ahead with construction not closing until fall of 2020.