Friday, February 8, 2013

Self-Guided OHS Tour

In mid-August (2012) I went down to Ottumwa for a football meeting at OHS (I officiate High School football part-time in the Fall).

My crew arrived a bit early, so I decided to give myself a tour of my alma matter, and grab a few grainy cell phone pics.

(In case anyone is wondering about "security," rest assured that someone met us at the door and let us in who was with the state association. I would not have been able to just "walk in" off the street.)

I started in the auditorium. It was exactly as I remembered it, except for two exceptions: there were new seats, and the big round "seals" with the class mottos were not hanging from the balconys. (I recall one assembly where one fell down and hit a kid on the head or shoulders... maybe that's why they were removed?)

From there, I moved toward the Vo-Tec (Voc-Tech?) building. This now involves a walk thru the new library/fancy building that was conveniently completed just two weeks before I graduated. (Remember having to carry our instruments through the auto-body room just to go between buildings for concerts & pep rallies? "Whoa, look at that big saxamaphone!" All of the inconvenience of construction, almost no benefit.) Well, there is a hallway down the middle that essentially replicates the old 2nd- story "skywalk," which leads to that half-flight of stairs that goes down to the 2nd floor of the Voc-Tech near the elevator.

That door was locked - kind of. When I pulled on the handle the lock literally fell off. I wasn't pulling that hard or anything, but the round, removable lock that sets in the door must not have been set in properly. So, in I go.

In the halls of Vo-Tech, it was very dark, but in spite of the darkness everything looked exactly the same as I remember from 1993-1997.

Vo-Tec 2nd Story Men's Room

I went into the men's room right there, and noticed that the large half-circle style "sink" had been replaced by two more traditional sinks. Peter Hemmings would be sad to hear this, I knew.

The orchestra room was locked, and I tried the stairwell right next to it to see if I could get roof access, but it was gated off with a padlock. Shucks.

The "main" door (near Mr. Flanigan's office) to the band room was unlocked. Score!

Bandroom. The director would be facing toward me, but the offices are behind me.
Woah! What's this? I've stepped into backwards world! There was no elevated platform for the band practice area. Even more surprising, it was turned around. The percussion was close to the middle of the room, and the director stood on the south/east wall (basically right about where the snare drums used to be). I wonder what the reason for that was? I don't remember if the platforms were movable or not. I was thinking they were built in, and, if so, must have been torn out. It was just about a week before school started, so the marching band drums were already out. I'm guessing the first few practices had occurred -- at least the "drums only" ones. (Did you know that we had to come a week earlier than the rest of you each year? You should be thankful....)

I went over to the vocal music room which was essentially unchanged. In the rooms at the "back" they had 4-5 computers in there. (These are the rooms where we would practice in small groups or quartets sometimes. I recall one time where we were goofing off a little, and Mr. Schneider stormed in and ripped us to pieces [verbally]! ~ don't get me wrong, we deserved it.)

New Cafeteria

Out the other door and down the stairs I went, and back toward the main building. I was going to cut through the cafeteria on the lower level of the new building, but the floors looked like they had fresh wax on them so decided not to.

The "original" part of the high school, for the most part, looked completely unchanged. I did slide down one of the banisters! The area behind the auditorium (behind the stage side) had been re-worked entirely with new siding on the walls, as had the downstairs area behind what used to be the cafeteria and next to the student council room. Frankly, I was running low on time, and didn't want to risk getting stuck behind a locked door, so at that point I retreated back to the auditorium. It was a fun little 20 minute journey. I should also note that one of our breakout sessions was in the new library/media room on the upper level of the fancy new building, and it was very nice. What do they call that, the "middle building?" I propose "Mo-Tech."

(One last interesting note - the signs now all refer to OHS as a 4 story building. IE, instead of "basement" plus 3 other floors, the lowest level is "1st floor," the offices and auditorium are on the "2nd floor," etc.)

This "classroom" is on the east end of the 2nd  floor now (or is that 3rd floor?).

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