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Memorial High School Builds New Art Wing

For the past year and a half, Vel Phillips Memorial (VPM) High School, along with other high schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), has been in the process of renovation and will be finished by the start of the 2024-2025 school year. These renovations are part of the Madison schools' $317 million 2020 Capital Referendum. So far, Memorial has already finished some parts of construction throughout the building such as the music wing, bigger windows in classrooms, and many other features. As a student at VPM, the most exciting addition to me by far has been the new and improved art wing, and here is why.

This art wing is located at the far right of the school and is made up of one bright white hallway, tall ceilings, and massive windows that are over six feet tall and seven feet wide. Highlighting this section of the school are posters, drawings, paintings, along with other pieces of art. Individual classrooms that are devoted to this section are drawing, painting, pottery, video, and many others. In all these classes, there is a dimming light feature which provides better lighting and makes the room livelier along with having more space for supplies, shelves, and other things needed for certain classes. All of these new features benefit both students and teachers in a major way.

Although the art wing at Memorial was not treated well in the past, it now provides many great benefits for both teachers and students. A major improvement is the amount of space in classrooms, providing more room for shelving, supplies, and space for students to collaborate together. Students enjoy having more opportunities to do new things in a creative environment.

Mr.Frontier, one of the art teachers at Memorial, has worked in the art department for over 20 years and has given the new art wing props. According to him, the construction of the art wing took about nine months, and it has turned out how the art teachers mostly envisioned. One improvement that greatly benefitted his video class in particular is the two new video studios, which he said he is very pleased to have. Along with this, he expresses how helpful it has been to wheelchair users, especially as they have easier access to materials which weren't as accessible in the past. Another question I asked him was how this new feature has impacted students and he stated, “well, it's too far to tell but we’ll see how things progress for the near feature.” Time will tell how this will impact the students of today and for the future of VPM.

The new art wing has presented many beneficial features to the staff and students of VPM as well as providing a better learning environment for students. The last thing I asked Frontier was what was his personal favorite part about having the art wing and he said, “the new spaces in the art department will give more students more opportunities to be more creative than they ever have been able to do before.” Frontier, along with many others, is very excited to see how the art wing will impact and influence the creativity of students at VPM.

[Source: Memorial Sword and Sheild; The Capital Times; Isthmus]

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