Prijatelj looks to improve schools, district

The construction of the new high school building has been a major topic this year among citizens of Altoona, both students and those who have graduated.  

Current students are dealing with a 91-year-old high school that restricts the use of modern technology and teaching methods.  Altoona Area School District Superintendent Dr. Charles Prijatelj described the current building as being “designed for efficiency; it’s not designed for creativity.”

“It doesn’t match up with the needs of what we need to be preparing kids for the 21st century,” Prijatelj said.

The primary education schools and the AAHS have little remaining capacity. The AAHJS though has more than 20% capacity remaining.
The primary education schools and the AAHS have little remaining capacity. The AAJHS though has more than 20% capacity remaining. (Illustration: Michael Baker)

A major focus of the new building is to better incorporate STEAM careers into the school district.  This includes bringing back electives that are no longer offered, as well as new electives to prepare students for 21st century jobs.

Along with STEAM electives the new building well have increased energy efficiency and allow strong project based learning.

The current A building will also be remodeled.  Prijatelj says the A building will remain a traditional structure consisting of mostly classrooms.  

The new building will also allow the modernization of the the entire AAHS art program.

The school district is also considering a new elementary school.  

The opening of a new elementary school would coincide with the opening of the new high school.

The new elementary school will allow the district to alleviate the over enrollment issues in the current elementary buildings.

Along with the high school and elementary school, other buildings and locations need work. One of these locations is Mansion Park.  

Prijatelj said Mansion Park will be addressed and worked on at some point.  Mansion Park’s issues range from poor bathrooms, much-needed locker room improvements and flood risks.

Prijatelj also is very open to community, parent and teacher opinions and ideas to shape the future of the school district.  There will be many public events in the future regarding the new buildings.

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