What’s up in the rafters: Roof construction creates inconvenience for staff

Chloe McAleer, Reporter

Walking through the halls on a typical school day at Bellevue West, students dodge trash cans that dot the hallways. Along with trash cans, Bellevue West’s interior also consists of missing ceiling tiles, dust falling from the ceiling, and a volume of noise coming from overhead. All of these occurrences are effects of the recent roof construction at Bellevue West.

Though the effects of this construction may be more noticeable this year, it’s not to say that Bellevue West hasn’t had roof restoration in years past. Instead, this is one of multiple roof renovations that have taken place at Bellevue West.

“It’s part of a long term project,” Principal Kevin Rohlfs said. “We’ve been replacing sections of our roof probably over the last five or six years now.”

Rohlfs said at the end of September, the construction team focused on the back of the school towards the family, health, and consumer science classrooms. Afterward, they moved towards the art, band, and choir classrooms before finally finishing.

Sunlight streams into the choir room as workers continued to finish current roof project. The construction caused choir classes to move on Oct. 5, 2021.

This roofing project hasn’t been without plenty of setbacks. According to Rohlfs, the majority of issues stem from the numerous storms which have hit the metro area. These storms have caused major flooding in multiple rooms across the building.

Along with consistent flooding, the project is also behind due to a lack of materials and labor, according to head custodian Laura Olsen.

The construction has not only affected the inner framework of the school, but has also affected the staff members that work here. According to Olsen, the custodians in general feel as if their jobs have become much more stressful since the start of construction.

“Every time it rains, we have to come in and check to make sure it’s not leaking, which it has quite a bit,” Olsen said.

Moreover, the construction has also caused disruptions for teachers within the classroom.

“The noise during class made it hard some days to hear or stay focused,” Social Studies teacher Mrs. Dacey said, whose classroom has been under construction since the beginning of the school year.

There are solutions to help with the noise, “Anytime the teachers don’t feel safe, it’s noisy, or if it’s dusty, we put them into another classroom,” Olsen said. 

According to Rohlfs, Bellevue West’s students and staff are trying to find the best ways to cope with the numerous interruptions this construction brings as it continues throughout the school year. The project was supposed to be completed within the first few weeks of September, but now is estimated to be completed by mid to late October.