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Williamston High School

This article was last updated on September 2nd of 2021.

Image at the top of the screen.

An image of the side entrance to Williamston High School.

Background

Williamston High School is one of the four buildings that make up Williamston Community Schools. Its superintendent is currently Dr. Spina with the current Principal and Vice Principal being Dr. Delp and Mr. Armour, respectively. The most recent data available claims 632 students attend Williamston High School. Although, this number has gone up as of the 2021 - 2022 school year due to an unexpected surge in enrollment mere weeks before the school year started. Williamston High School is a 9th-12th grade school. Location wise, Williamston High School is right next to the Williamston Middle School, separated by a swamp.

Williamston High School was constructed during 1998 - 1990. It received a major expansion in 1996 which included at least 8 classrooms, extending the length of the B-hall and D-hall. The building received an even larger expansion from 2006 - 2007, in which Granger Construction was contracted to expand WHS by 76,000 square feet. This was when the new gym and entire f-hallway were built, which features most of the science and math classrooms today. The media center was presumably renovated during this time as well. Since then, upgrades to the building has been mostly in the form of roof repairs.

A side view of Williamston High School, circa 2019. Notice the Williamston "W" and the hornet statue, the mascot of Williamston Community Schools.


Construction, Renovation, and Expansion of Williamston High School

Main article: Williamston Community Schools

Williamston High School has received many additions and renovations over the years. The current building is the 3rd structure built to serve the purpose as the Williamston High School. According to past yearbooks, the 2007 renovations had significantly disrupted the school year, and was in fact the running theme of the 2007 yearbook. During 2021, the previously unused D4 classroom was upgraded into a "research lab", and began to be used for MSA Research in the 2021 - 2022 school year. Mr. Rasmus was given a budget of $150,000 by a donor to renovate the classroom.

This is a sketch of Williamston High School in 1995, by one of the companies associated with the school's construction:


Sinking Fund Expenses

Note: Recently, this section was updated to include only major sinking fund expenses to improve readability. If you want to see every single renovation, you should visit the Williamston Community Schools' sinking fund page.

"Sinking Funds at Williamston High School" refers to the various renovation projects that occur at WHS using revenue from "Sinking Fund dollars". A Sinking Fund is revenue set aside over a long period of time to fund a future expense. For Williamston High School, this money can be spent on emergency repairs, infrastructure repairs, and school safety improvements. The total amount of Sinking Fund dollars spent on Williamston High School: at least $931,571.

During the summer before the 2019-2020 school year, Williamston High School added additional security measures. This project is known officially as the "Williamston High School Secure Entrance Project". For one, a new entrance was created that runs through the main office. It uses a buzzer and staff key card system to let people in. This is to prevent people from just walking into the school, which happened a lot as the front entrance doors did not have an actual remote lock, just a 10 second timer, (Fun fact, that cost $3000 USD to implement). The glass doors have all been reinforced with an explosion proof material. Finally, some doors have a secure "Proximity Key Card Readers" installed, which basically means staff members now have cool key cards to open doors. These renovations cost $290,000.

An image of Williamston High School during the construction process.

In the summer of 2017, the roof of Williamston High School was replaced and repaired for the second time, for a cost of $339,200.

Construction workers working on the roof of Williamston High School.

In 2014, WHS had some minor storm drain and sidewalk repair. The skylights in the commons were also replaced. The cost of these repairs is unknown, but considering it was just a bit of cement and a handful of minimum wage workers, it probably wasn't much. The water heater at WHS was replaced, also for an unknown cost, and the lights in the HS entrance area were replaced with more energy efficient and effective lighting for $5,000. The roof was also repaired for the first time, at a cost of $151,300.


Vandalism

Like most high schools, Williamston High School suffers from vandalism on the occasion. The peak was during the 2019-2020 school year, when all boys' bathrooms were shut down, as all four were graffiti-ed during the same day. One or two people were suspended for sharing the graffiti on social media, which included distasteful comments directed towards Dr. Delp. A trash can was also shoved into a toilet during the 2019 - 2020 school year.


Public Controversy and Press Coverage

Naturally, Williamston High School, being a small high school in the middle of nowhere, typically only appears in the news when something controversial happens.

In 2011, a student died because he was crushed by a locker room wall. How this exactly occurred was under some debate, but most sources agree the student was doing pull-ups at the time, when the wall tragically collapsed and crushed him. The situation was investigated by the administration, and it was reported that WHS hadn't had a full scale inspection since the school was constructed. In 2008, a different lockeroom wall had actually collapsed due to "horseplay". An architect who contributed to the design of Williamston High School was reportedly surprised at the news and was quoted saying: "I can't imagine what it took to do that." A ceremony for the student was paid for by the WHS freshmen class at the time, and occurred later that school year.

In 2017-2018, there was a lot of controversy about Williamston High School's Board of Education decision to allow students to pick the bathroom they wanted to use. The decision was made on November 2nd of 2017, and shortly after a lawsuit began. It demanded that WHS overturn the new policies, and also targeted all of the board members that voted for the policy. In 2018, four members of the Williamston school board who supported the new policies were faced with a recall election. They wereSarah Belanger, Chris Lewis, Nancy Deal, and Greg Talberg. Only Talberg was successfully recalled. This multi-year saga finally came to a conclusion on October 30th of 2020, in which the lawsuit was finally dismissed.

Williamston High School, along with other local schools such as Okemos Public Schools, have received a lot of coverage relating to the so called "Vaping Epidemic". This particular article was published in 2019 and featured Ex-Vice Principal Mike Freeman. During the controversial flavored vape ban in 2019, several staff members were quoted and interviewed for a news article about Williamston High School's anti-vaping stance. Dr. Steven Delp, Ms. Adelle Banister, Ms. Linda Ereg, Robbie Harbert, Dale Williams, and police officer Don Smith were quoted in the article. In fact, officer Smith was described as "an expert when it comes to catching kids with nicotine paraphernalia", and "he dedicates much of his work and time to keep Williamston students safe and away from nicotine products." This officer occasionally monitors hallways in the High School and Middle School.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 Pandemic<, Williamston Community Schools continued to serve food to students/families in need. Other local schools did the same.

During the summer of 2020, a survey by Williamston Community School's was spammed by several people, some who didn't even have students going to the district. This survey was about the decision to return to regular school, hybrid program school, or online school for the first semester of the 2020 - 2021 school year. One person filled out the form at least 30 times and bragged about it on Facebook.


Sources

1. Williamston Community Schools Website - 8th Grade Scheduling Information Spring 2020 Video 2. Williamston Community Schools Website - Administration Page 3. Williamston Community Schools Website - Williamston High School 2019-20 Profile Document
4. Williamston Community Schools Website - Williamston High School Homepage 5. Williamston Community Schools Website - Sinking Fund 6. Michigan Live - Williamston High School grieves death of student killed in locker room accident
7. Spartan News Room - Death prompts structural review of school 8. Spartan News Room - Williamston school board approves gender identity policies 9. Spartan News Room - Federal lawsuit looks for ‘adjunctive relief,’ transgender school policies still important debate in Williamston
10. Lansing State Journal - Williamston school board president unseated, other incumbents hold off challengers 11. Lansing State Journal - Williamston school board members who voted for transgender policy face recall effort 12. WILX 10 - Gov. Whitmer appoints local community members to COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council
13. City Pulse - Williamston Gay-Straight Alliance wins backing of ACLU 14. Michigan Live - School district, ACLU defend gender-identity protections 15. City Pulse - Trans policy still dividing Williamston
16. Lansing State Journal - Judge dismisses lawsuit over Williamston schools' gender identity policies 17. Spartan News Room - Williamston High School fights the vaping epidemic 18. Fox News - Williamston Community Schools & Others Ready to provide Food for Needy
19. WLNS 10 - Williamston ‘return to school’ fall survey spammed by people taking the questionnaire multiple times; some without kids in the district 20. Mlive - Report: School architect says significant force likely caused Williamston High School locker room wall to collapse, killing student in October 21. Ballotpedia - Williamston Community Schools recall, Michigan (2018)