New Year, New Improvements

Summer shakeups provide NAI with even better opportunities

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With a new year comes new students, new improvements, new philosophies, and new ideas to make each school year better than the last. While students relaxed on their summer vacation of 2019, North Allegheny Intermediate High School underwent major updates. 

NAEye spoke with NAI’s principal, Mrs. Ewing, who gave us a rundown of the school’s improvements and ideas that you may or may not have noticed. 

“We were extremely fortunate to hire Mr. Heiry.” Mr. Heiry is NAI’s head custodian who was brought to the custodial team last year and has brought his cleanliness skills that impressed Mrs. Ewing.

“He has taken this building and turned it around. I would eat off our floors and I’m telling you, I would not have done that before hand. ”

— Mrs. Ewing

Before Heiry, most days were spent taking care of broken items in desperate need for repair, which should not have been the number one issue to take care of for high school staff. When Heiry was hired, the stress of fixing those errors in the school decreased after keeping the school top-notch for students and staff. 

Most students have not seen the Principal Conference Room, or they may not even know where or what it is. Before Ewing gave it a touch up, it used to be an average room with one wooden table and old chairs. Now it consists of black and gold benches, places to sit and have coffee with students paintings hung on the walls. The school is also trying to do the same thing to counselors’ office. 

The new longer homeroom time is something most students enjoy. It allows them to catch up on homework, go see a teacher, or just hang out with their friends. In previous years, homeroom started at 8:03 am and ended at 8:11 am. It still starts at 8:03 am. but ends 20 minutes later at 8:23 am.  

Another upgrade to homeroom is a new system of announcements. Morning announcements will start at the beginning of homeroom and will be broadcasted through the teacher’s smartboard. Teachers will not be allowed to continue teaching when the announcements turn on. 

Last year, one of the main issues of the cafeteria were backpacks. Students used to break the rule and bring their backpacks to the cafeteria during their lunch periods, which was a safety hazard with kids trying to maneuver around them with trays of food in their hands. “I saw adults getting into confrontations with kids about backpacks. At the end of the day, should that be a big issue?” Ewing explained. 

When told by staff they were not permitted to bring them to the cafeteria, students started putting their backpacks at the top of the staircase that leads down to the cafeteria and up to the Tiger Hall. This lead to even bigger safety hazard with students carrying to instruments and art supplies to those departments near that certain staircase. Not too long after this, students were to put their backpacks in their lockers during their lunch period and that stayed the rule for the rest of the school year. 

This year, Ewing and staff put shelves in the cafeteria where students can put their backpacks, but now students are putting them on the floor in front of the shelves which is now a fire hazard. To fix it, students can bring their backpacks to their lunch table as long as they under the table. Ewing still encourages kids to use the shelves for everyone’s sake.  

Another improvement that not everybody has seen is the room between the weight room and the lower gym. It used to be called “The Green Mile” until now it’s called “The Tiger Mile.” It was last painted green on the walls and hasn’t been repainted since the 1980s. Now, it’s painted grey along with a golden stripe on the walls. “It makes you want to workout and not like you need to take shower”.

Many have seen the mural in the main entrance at the top of B Hall. There is now a mural along the staircase between the upper and lower gym.

The staircase goes up to in a small hallway off A Hall leading to the exit to parking lot near the bus station. It goes down to the lower gym and leads to a hallway that students take to get to the weight room and cardio room. 

The mural was a donation from the class of 2021 along with the class of 1966. The class from two different generations came up with money to pay Mr. Bockoven, one of NAI’s Art teachers, to make the school’s second mural. Although not much of the staff goes down that staircase often, the community comes in those doors near the staircase. Instead of seeing a plain white brick wall, people see NAI’s history. 

Also, Beattie busses were an issue for a large amount of students who had to travel from NAI to A.W. Beattie Career Center for other courses during the school day and are on first loading busses.

Beattie is for students from districts around the Wexford area who take a certain curriculum that they want to pursue as a career. Beattie students on the first loading, leaving NAI used to have to get a bus that would take them to Carson Middle School or Marshall Middle School. After arriving to one of those middle schools, students were forced to wait over an hour for another bus to take them to Beattie yet the other loadings of students got to Beattie on time.

Additionally, Ewing urged North Allegheny’s transportation department to get buses to NAI earlier so all students can get to Beattie in time for their other courses. 

Outside of NAI’s building, there is a new football field with NAI’s first ever strobe lights, shining down on the new and improved field. Located next to the baseball field, it was originally used for track and field. Now it’s used more for NA’s football and track and field teams. Construction on the field started in late May before school ended for summer in 2019. “The lighting, I think, will really help us keep after-school activities going on here on a regular basis.” After-school activities used to be cancelled or moved to a different school because of a little rain. Now with the new strobe lights, sports and activities can continue during rainfall and nighttime.  

Although North Allegheny Intermediate High School was constructed around 1957, the students would never guess how old the building is because of the new improvements for one of NA’s largest schools.