Nov. 12, 2009
Denfeld community reacts to possible one-year
By Brandon Stahl
Prepared by rumors that have swirled for months,
Denfeld students said Wednesday they weren’t surprised by
news that their school might close during the next school year.
Reaction from students who were interviewed while
eating lunch at Arby’s near Denfeld ranged from disgruntled
On the disgruntled end of the scale, students
decried the loss of school traditions, the possibility of having
sports combined with Central High School, overcrowded classrooms
and long commutes to get to school.
“It’s not good,” said junior
“I live way out in Norton Park,” said
junior Stephen Swanstrom. “That’s going to be a long
Swanstrom also looked on the bright side: “I’ll
still be graduating from Denfeld,” he said. “I don’t
care as long as I graduate.”
“A school is a school,” added junior
Jared Overby, who was sitting with Swanstrom. “I feel we can
Superintendent Keith Dixon told the News Tribune
on Monday that construction at the school next year plus a need
to cut expenses could prompt the district to temporarily close Denfeld
in 2010-11 and split high school students between East and Central
Sophomore Nikki Logergren said she was excited
about the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences.
Kalene Polling, seated with Logergren, disagreed:
“I still love Denfeld and I don’t want to go anywhere
“But when we come back,” countered
Nikki Mutchler, “it’ll be so much nicer.”
Many teachers were told of the possibility last
week, said Gene Grembowski, a biology teacher who has been at the
school since 1981.
Grembowski said he understood the need to close
the school and called it “probably the best move.”
“It’s the safest thing to do,”
Dixon said Monday that keeping the kids at the
school during construction would be costly, estimating it would
be an extra $4 million to $8 million to schedule construction in
a way that would minimize the effect on students.
If Denfeld does close, there are still many logistics
to be worked out, such as what to do with the sports teams and how
to consolidate classes.
There have been no decisions yet made as to what
to do with the sports teams, said Denfeld Athletic Director Tom
“Ultimately we’re trying to make the
best decisions for the kids moving forward,” he said.
Grembowski said he’s been told that students
still would be allowed to graduate at Denfeld and walk across the
school’s auditorium stage.
“That made me feel a lot better about it,”
Tim White, a math teacher who’s been at
Denfeld for 13 years, said he also thinks closing the school for
a year would be the best course of action, saying construction has
been a distraction for the students.
“I think the construction would be faster
and it would be cheaper. It only makes sense to me,” he said.
“The sooner this is over and the quicker we can get on to
the business of doing what we need to do, the better off it will
be for everybody.”