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WATERTOWN — Anyone who passes the H. T. Wiley Intermediate School on Washington Street may find its parking lot surprisingly full for this time of year.
Watertown City School District Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr said that even though students are on break until September, all district campuses are still active, and much of the construction material is being housed at the Wiley school.
“We’ve got improvement projects going on at just about every site,” Mrs. LaBarr said. “Our biggest project is putting a new roof on the Wiley building.”
City engineers also said that work on the Knickerbocker Elementary School’s water main should be completed before the academic year starts.
Patti LaBarr, who formally assumed her position as superintendent on July 1, said that changes were happening inside the school as well, including changing principals at the Sherman Elementary School and Case Middle School.
Terrance L. Gonseth, who had been principal of Case since 2010, will lead the Sherman school, and former Sherman principal Thomas Nabinger will assume Mr. Gonseth’s role at Case.
“As a superintendent, you look at the needs of your entire district and the strength of every staff member. Being that Mr. Nabinger had been a science teacher for years, we considered him a good fit for the changing science testing standards required of middle school students,” Mrs. LaBarr said. Before coming to Watertown, Mr. Nabinger had taught earth science at Nottingham High School in Syracuse for 17 years.
“And Mr. Gonseth is just amazing, I’m confident he’ll be an asset to everyone at Sherman,” she said. Mr. Gonseth was a special education teacher at the South Jefferson Central School District for seven years before coming to Watertown in 2008.
Mrs. LaBarr also said that progress was being made toward creating a wireless Internet network for the whole district, to “put students on a level playing field.”
“Not every student’s family can afford to use data all day at the school, so this will really give them equal access to the internet. That’s really the overall goal for the district, to make sure everyone has the same level of access.” The superintendent said that Wi-Fi should be available throughout the district by the fall of 2018, at the latest.