Presents Opportunities for SCCS
By Manuel Saavedra and Sebastian Vedia
There were many questions and rumors going around after the school purchased the house next to the school as the new administration building, so we went to the site of the building in search for some answers.
The questions and rumors were not necessarily worries. Soccer players, for one example, were relieved the school had bought this property because now they could kick soccer balls over the fence into this property -- without having the concern it would come back with a knife hole in it as happened on at least one occasion.
But what other advantages did it bring for the school? What, exactly was going to go on there?
As we entered the new building we observed an old fashioned construction with a beautiful old fountain in the middle of a courtyard with water cascading onto rocks. This building was built in the 1970s as a residence and it still looks like a home, but now the school has made some changes that made it look more like other buildings on campus – pleasant, but businesslike. The courtyard opens onto offices for the business, administration, and admission offices, as well as the office of Director William McKelligott.
The two-story building has many rooms adequate for small offices, as well as a kitchen for the staff members who work there. There are several bathrooms for the use of staff and visitors. Currently, there are masons workings their fixing the garden and painting the building white. They are also building a fence that matches the barrier surrounding the rest of our campus, so that outsiders realize the property now belongs to Santa Cruz Cooperative School.
We were hospitably welcomed into Director William McKelligott’s new office by the Director himself to visit with him and discuss the new building. He was eager to help us answer the questions we had. McKelligott began by telling us that there is one disadvantage to the new arrangement in that he felt isolated from the school. In his previous office he had the opportunity to go out and interact more easily with the student body. He said he very much enjoyed going out in the morning before school to greet students and have short conversations, which is harder in his new, slightly more remote, location.
Despite this drawback, which he is working on ways to overcome, he very much likes the new office. McKelligott is the central presence in the new building, and the meeting rooms and other facilities help him to meet the demands for flexibility imposed on him. “My agenda can change many times throughout the day,” he said. “These changes are due to either security issues, problems with students or parents, meetings with teachers, business affairs of the school, and even the US embassy. He says, “I’m all over the place, OK?” He attends to about ten meetings a day.
The director believes the school made a good decision buying this house, which is located on 2800 square meters of property. The building looks large from the outside, but inside it seems modest in scale, with much of the interior space taken up by the bright and airy courtyard attractively decorated with student art work.
For the people who work there it is a welcome change from the cramped and relatively dark quarters the offices occupied in the ground floor of a high school classroom building. Maritza Chavarria, who is perhaps the most well known person in the business office in her capacity as the person who collects payments from parents, said, “We feel much more comfortable at this new building.”
This building not only made more space for the school but also opened up office space for a new position, the school improvement director. This position has been filled by Bruna Bellani, from Cochabamba. She is the ideal person for the job because she has a lot of experience in the field. She worked in New York City and Arizona in some of the top-rated schools in the US. She has worked in schools for 28 years. Her job at SCCS is to help students achieve success in terms of both long and short term goals.
The main reason the school bought this land was for the extra space that was needed on campus. The school enrolls just under 600 students and there are many demands for added facilities. More space does not necessarily mean more students. It means, among other things, expansion of the fields and playing areas. For example, the school is planning to expand the recreational space for the elementary students because the current area they have behind their building is too small. Some of the space will come from the grounds of the new administration building.
The school is also planning to tearing down one of the high school buildings that contained the former administrative offices to construct a new three-story building that will have a theatre, fine arts rooms, and maybe even house an indoor pool. The school has already made plans to start this project, though no firm dates have been set.
It’s all part of a continuing plan to make SCCS not only bigger, but better.