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Wendland enjoys international events

wendland 2 colArapahoe 2011 graduate Makayla Wendland returned recently from her second year of participating in the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City.

Wendland, who is a senior at Hastings College, was the team’s head delegate.

She was first introduced to the conference through her professor Dr. Ingrid Bego, a political Science instructor. “She had heard of some teams that went and competed at some smaller conferences and she approached me and wanted to know if anyone at Hastings would be interested. I knew some of my friends had been interested in the United Nations and we just put a team together and ran with it.”

They traveled to New York the first year and realized that the conference was the biggest conference to attend. Wendland said,  “it was a bit of shock.”

The teams are given a country that is a member of the United Nations to represent in the conference. The first year, the team was given the country of Kyrgyzstan. “We’ve had some difficult countries to represent because they are smaller.”

At this year’s conference, the team was given the African country of Niger.  “We get our country in November and we go (to the conference) in March. The first semester we met bi-monthly, so we just practice parliamentary procedure. The second semester we meet once a week for 1 to 2 hours.” During those meetings, the team is fine-tuning their country’s political positions on issues such as nuclear weapons, women’s issues, social issues, and environmental issues.

The team also divided into committees. For each committee, the team writes a paper describing the country’s stance on the issue. “It’s a lot of work that goes in it,” she said.

There were about 6,000 students who attended the conference from about 35 different countries. Wendland explained,  “You are given three different topics, and the committee members from all UN counties vote on which topic the committee members will work on. “ This year’s topic is the control of biological weapons.  After finding a group of committee members to work with, the group writes a resolution paper trying to address the issue at hand. “We wrote a 12 page resolution this year, it was basically (everyone) from ‘The African Block’…since we were all from developing countries, we have unique views on things.”

The skills the conference-goers learn help them through out life. “It’s about negotiation, diplomacy and working together.”  Wendland says it’s not a contest, but the conference does hand out awards such as best position paper or best delegation award. Last year, Wendland’s team did receive an honorable mention award, but did not receive one this year.

For the rest of this, and other stories, please subscribe to the Arapahoe Public Mirror.

A closer look at the proposed school improvement plans

Five years after a failed bond election, the Arapahoe Board of Education is once again looking at the possibility of remodeling and updating the existing facility.  According to Superintendent Charlie Curnyn, the options presented by CG Architects at last week’s board meeting were plans from the previous attempt at a remodel and update.   This serves as a starting point to see if they still work and what their costs would be. Estimated costs have almost doubled since January 2013 from $135-$145 a square foot to $250-$275.  The new prices include a three percent contingency.  All figures exclude furnishings and equipment.

Regardless of the option chosen, just to update the existing facilities, the cost would start at approximately $3 million dollars and would go towards updating and remodeling the existing mechanical, electrical, fire alarms, sprinklers, classrooms, gymnasium, and hallways.  This figure does not include the shop/FFA, weight room, or new fire exits on the old high school building.

In the first option, they have looked at moving the weight room into the current kitchen area and if not there, then possibly  one or two of the new classrooms. The old shop would either be torn down to accommodate drainage or remain and be used for storage.  The new classrooms would be used for FFA, distance learning or SPED. A new kitchen and commons area as well as a connection corridor and concession area are included along with meeting/work room and administration offices.  A new parking lot is also included in the first option which would be located south of the current high school building as well as remodeling of the gym.  Option one also includes the addition of four new locker rooms (two athletic and two P.E.).

In the second option, this would include the entire first option and also shows that the current high school building would be torn down and a fine arts auditorium would be added.  Currently the high school operates from 12 classrooms and that same number of classrooms would be built new as current enrollment requires this much space.  As the same as the first option, the second option also includes a new parking lot.

As explained by the architects, in both plans the current gymnasium  have the cement bleachers and locker rooms removed to allow for the installation of retractable bleachers.

When asked about the financing of this proposed project, given the district’s current healthy account balances, Curnyn stated that “all funds are available for either new construction or remodeling and will be used to help with any type of project(s) that get approved.”

No time line has been set at this time and it has been stressed that the board is just at the beginning stages of looking into this proposed project.  Curnyn also stated that the  focus remains on providing a safe and secure environment for the students.

Any patrons wanting more information about this proposed project are welcome to stop by the school and visit with Curnyn.

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