One of the goals of the proposed capital project that Fayetteville-Manlius School District residents will vote on Dec. 7 is to create a more physically unified school, which would address security issues and create efficiencies throughout the building.
Fayetteville-Manlius High School includes two buildings that were originally constructed in the 1960s as separate schools. In 1961, construction began on the high school, which is now known as House 2. The junior high school building, which is now House 1, was built in 1965 and became absorbed into the high school when Eagle Hill Middle School opened in 1972.
While the two buildings—House 1 and 2—were eventually joined by a second-story walkway, the two houses lack a connection that allows students to easily and efficiently travel between the first floor of the two sections. So they are not late to class, most students on the first floor opt to go outside to pass from one house to the other because it is faster than walking up the stairs to the second-story walkway and then back down to the first floor.
The proposed capital project includes expanding the cafeteria into a two-story, multipurpose space that would serve to unify the two houses. Students could use the space to eat lunch, gather to work on academic projects or meet for extracurricular activities. Staff would also be able to use the space for instructional purposes, and the school would finally have an enclosed connection point between the first floor of both houses.
Expanding the cafeteria would allow more students to schedule a lunch period throughout the school day, F-M High School Executive Principal Raymond Kilmer said. Currently, many students opt to enroll in an elective course instead of scheduling a lunch. They purchase grab-and-go meals from the cafeteria or snack shack or bring food from home and eat during one of their classes.
Because of the current size of the cafeteria, if every student did schedule a lunch period, the food service department would have to begin serving meals at 8:30 a.m., Kilmer said. With an expanded cafeteria and a reworking of the master schedule, every student would be able to have a mid-day lunch period and still enroll in an elective, Kilmer said.
“We know students need to eat healthy meals so their brains are ready to learn,” he said. “In addition to meeting that need, this project would unify the high school and do so in a way that would provide students expanded academic, social and extracurricular opportunities.”