Q&A with Joseph Schaller, Assistant Principal of Operations, about update in school construction plans


The outside of the 10-12 counseling offices remains quiet with major construction finished and furniture inside waiting to be situated. Compared to its former position near the Senior hallway during the 2019-2020 school year, the 10-12 counseling department will be adjacent to the natatorium entrance starting Aug. 13.

Valliei Chandrakumar


Joseph Schaller – Assistant Principal of Operations

What is your role in preparing CHS for students’ return in August?

I think it’s kind of a group effort among many of the assistant principals, the principal, as well as our central office in basically getting together, brainstorming different ideas, looking at what other schools are doing, ways that we can incorporate that into our school, ways that we would adjust how that might look because our school is a little different. I think we have a very collective role, sitting around the table and working out what (reopening) might look like.

Since early April, when a fellow Hilite reporter interviewed you about the construction, a lot of time has passed and COVID-19 has wreaked greater havoc on many communities. Have those construction plans been on track or delayed? 

Fortunately, I would say we, (the school), is probably maybe a little ahead of where we would have been. We’re pretty much on target. We were hoping to have it ready at the start of school. We may be missing a few pieces of furniture here and there. Most people wouldn’t notice that anyway. The outside of it, the entrances to those areas… We’re anticipating those being ready to go on August 11.

How will previous students be reminded of the construction changes? How will new students or freshmen be introduced to the new office placements?

Last year, we sent out a lot of communications about how offices are moving around and how you would find them. This year, for the freshman, they actually won’t know the difference. Really, the construction projects that are happening are the offices in the 10-12 counseling department, the 10-12 student services, the 10-12 nursing, and the whole school’s activity office and athletics. There isn’t really anything (freshmen) would need to know because when they come in for GKOM (events), they are going to see the (offices). Although, they’re not quite ready; they’re going to be pretty darn close (by the time of the GKOM event). (The offices) will almost look ready; they just may not have all the proper furniture. We are hopeful that the week of August 5 with the GKOM (event) being the week before, (the offices) will look pretty good by then. (The freshmen) are not going to know the difference of what it was compared to what it is. They’ll really get a firsthand tour and be the first people to see the finished offices.

As of today, July 9, is the construction completely done and the school is just waiting on furniture arrivals?

We are hoping that (construction) is finished within the next two weeks. It’s a lot of offices being done and there’s a lot of area being covered so it actually takes a little over a week to install all the furniture. As they bring the furniture in, they have to put them together and get them in the right offices. So, that’s actually going to take about a week. If you were to walk in that area now, you’d be like ‘How is (the construction) going to be done in two weeks?’ which is normal. We, (the administration team), are always like ‘Wait a minute. How’s that going to be done in two weeks?’ but (the construction company) is telling us that they’re still ready to go.

Should students expect signs of construction if returning to school on August 13?

There’s what the (construction company) calls a punch list where they go through and make sure everything is done. It’s not uncommon for something such as a floorboard or tram to not be done. Everything should be done to the point where it is usable. You might notice something here or there that doesn’t look quite right but that shouldn’t stop us from having our counselors and nurses from moving in. At that point, it would be very minor (inconveniences) and (construction workers) would come maybe at 4 o’ clock at night to finish up, so it doesn’t interrupt anything that we’re doing with our school day.

Is the process of counselors, nurses, and administration members moving into the offices any different due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

For the most part, the counselors each have their own office so it’s as though they’re easily able to maintain that six feet distance. All of these offices are individualized kinds of places. It’s already designed as a social distanced area. Obviously, the counselors get together and talk and if they’re having meetings, they may be wearing masks. In general, it’s not an area with crowds.