Williamston Middle School
This article was last updated on March 7th of 2021.
An image of Williamston Middle School. Notice the "Be Nice" flag, which is also featured in Williamston High School.
Williamston Middle School, or WMS for short, is one of the four buildings that make up Williamston Community Schools. The current principal of Williamston Middle School is currently Mrs. Debra LaFleur, who became principal during the summmer of 2020 after Mr. Robert Watson's departure. Well known staff include Mr. Gere, who is an art class and "Design and Modeling" teacher at Williamston Middle School. The most recent data available says that 414 students attend Williamston Middle School. Williamston Middle School is a 6th-8th grade school.
WMS finished construction in time for the 1961 - 1962 school year, and was used as a high school until the 1990s. Explorer Elementary was constructed around the same time as Williamston Middle School. WMS has recived many rennovations and expansions over the years, to the point where it is almost unrecognizable from the front when compared to old photos. After WHS was constructed, Williamston Middle School became the middle school it is today and has remained a 6-8 building ever since.
An map of Williamston Middle School, circa 2020.
MS Student Shared
Williamston Middle School has its own shared folder, the MS Student Shared. It serves the exact same function as the the HS Student Shared. Due to eyewitness accounts, as well as the lease agreement, it is suspected that the MS Student Shared and HS Student Shared servers are located in the Technology Department room at Williamston Middle School's technology wing. The MS Student Share recives very little use, just like the HS Student Shared.
Williamston Middle School - Then vs Now
Williamston Middle School, circa 1967. Photo from a high school yearbook from 1967.
Williamston Middle School, circa 2020. Photo taken by Charlie Nolan on September 19th of 2020.
The Capital Area District Library
In 2018, Williamston Middle School gave up a part of the building to the Capital Area District Libraries, a system of libraries in Ingham County, Michigan. This area included the (former) WMS library (aka the Media Center), the E42 computer lab, a bathroom, the technology center, and various other smaller rooms. It also owns the hallways around these rooms, creating an effective seperation from the rest of the building. Together, this section of the school forms "CADL - Williamston". CADL - Williamston was formerly located in the old Williamston High School. This library is a public place, open for an average of 9 hours a day. It is seperate from WMS, despite sharing the same building. This means students at WMS have no access to a library during school hours, unless if the school reserves time for them to visit the CADL, or if the students walk over to Williamston High School, which has its own library. According to Dr. Spina during the Hornet Hive Podcast, Williamston Middle School leases the media center to CADL, so Williamston Community Schools is actively making money on this arrangement.
An image of CADL - Williamston. Notice how the library even owns the entrance depicted in this picture, which means there is only one front entrance open to WMS students, the main entrance.
Capital Area District Library Timeline
Reasons for the Move:
Williamston Community Schools has a long history of being understaffed. There are several empty classrooms in Williamston High School and Williamston Middle School. More significantly however, the middle school's Media Center, also known as the library, was incredibly understaffed. According to Dr. Adam Spina, superintendent of WCS, the library had been understaffed for over a decade, and there wasn't even a librarian employed there. The library was primarly used for staff meetings and served as the Responsible Thinking Classroom. Basically, it was costing the school money to maintain the underutilized space, and this was seen as a waste by the school board.
Secondly, the existing Williamston CADL, which was located in the old high school at the time, was rather small. If it moved to the middle school, it could utilize a lot more space. According to Dr. Spina, the move would allow CADL - Williamston to expand its capacity of 10,000 items to 26,000 items. This would be a signficant increase in the quality of the CADL.
The third reason was that the school district lacked the funds and motivation to update the book selection. The books there were mostly outdated and did not appeal to the students at Williamston High School, who used the library the least. If CADL moved in they would have the funds to update the book selection, which would probably increase the traffic into the library. It would also mean the students of Williamston Community Schools would have access to better resources at the library.
The final reason was that moving the CADL under the same roof as Williamston Community Schools would strengthen the connection between WCS, the City of Williamston, and the Capital Area District Library.
The third slide of the Board of Education "Middle School Media Center Concept" presentation. This shows some of the reasons behind the move.
The CADL move began to become reality on December 4th of 2017, when a presentation by/for the Board of Education was presented. This presentation outlined the goals of the move, a draft of the lease agreement, estimated maintenance and cleaning costs, known facts, and potential issues. Here are a list of some of the interesting facts presented:
- "There is no library programming at the high school or middle school media centers and no librarian or media specialist."
- "Middle school media center is used primarily for staff meetings and the Responsible Thinking Classroom (RTC)."
- "The collection at the middle school is outdated and does not meet the needs of secondary students."
- "The middle school collection can be moved to classrooms, the media center at the elementary campus or the high school, or to empty classrooms at the middle school."
- "The district lacks discretionary funds to staff or update the middle school collection."
- "The space can be secured so that library patrons cannot have access to the school."
- "Arrangement would result in a slight maintenance and utility cost reduction for the District."
- "Current maintenance and custodial teams can support CADL operations".
The draft lease agreement on the presentation. It calls for the CADL leasing nearly the entire technology wing of Williamston Middle School.
In January of 2018, there was a school board meeting discussing the CADL move. By March of 2018, the school board decided to support the CADL move to Williamston Middle School. This means the City Council of Williamston, WCS School Board, and CADL Board all supported the move.
Plans were quickly made in the following months and the CADL was scheduled to complete their move to Williamston Middle School's Media Center in June of 2018.
The move began around June 12th of 2018, along with some minor rennovations to the space. These renovations included sealing off the Technology Wing from the rest of Williamston Middle School. The move was completed on time.
The lease agreement was created somewhere around February of 2018, and is 19 pages long. The lease will last until December 31st of 2037, unless if it is terminated, and may be extended for an additional five years. Here's a summary of the terms of the agreement:
- The Media Center, E42 Computer Lab, Long Hallway, Entrance Hallway, Bathrooms, and Hallway Office are leased to the Capital Area District Library.
- The Technology Department room is considered a shared space. It is very likely this is because the district can't find a place to move the servers of the MS Student Shared, and the HS Student Shared, assuming it's in there too.
- The City of Williamston gets to use the Gymnasium for holding city elections if needed.
- Williamston Community Schools is responsible for all management, expenses, maintenance, renovation, contruction, and building repair for all of Williamston Middle School (including the areas leased to CADL).
- The City of Williamston pays for the cost of the activities and supplies needed for the Williamston CADL.
- The "Agreement Period" lasts until December 31st of 2037, and may be extended for five extra years if all three parties agree. This means the CADL Occupation will last until at least then unless if a falling out occurs.
- Williamston Community Schools recives exactly $24,273.05 a year, as well as any extra operating costs, from the Capital Area District Library. If CADl cannot pay, the City of Williamston will. It is worth noting this payment is exactly how much money it takes Williamston Community Schools to maintain the space.
- Essentially, the lease money completely refunds the entire cost of maintaining the CADL Zone. As a result, Williamston Community Schools saves a slight amount of money than before the lease, because they're pretty much maintaining a part of the school for free.
- Failure to pay all or a chunk of the lease when it is due will be considered a breach of the agreement.
- Those in the Capital Area District Library must not be too loud.
- If the City of Williamston wants to renovate the space, they must do so using the money out of their own pocket. Williamston Community Schools reserves the right to reasonably reject a renovation plan.
CADL - Williamston Countdown
The CADL Occupation will end in roughly:
The lease agreement is set to expire on December 31st of 2037, and will expire unless if is renewed for an additonal five years. It is also possible for the lease to be terminated due to a breach of sorts.
Sinking Fund Propaganda
Note: Recently, this section was updated to include only major sinking fund expenses. If you want to see every single renovation, you should visit the Williamston Community Schools' sinking fund page.
"Sinking Funds at Williamston Middle School" refers to the various renovation projects that occur at WMS using revenue from Sinking Fund dollars, revenue set aside over a long period of time to fund a future expense. For Williamston Middle School, this money can be spent on emergency repairs, infastructure repairs, and school saftey improvements. The popular phrase "all of the funding goes to the high school" coined by the students isn't a myth after all, as the total amount of Sinking Fund dollars spent on the middle school equates to an estimated ~$442,138.50 compared to the estimated $931,571 Sinking Fund dollars spent on Williamston High School. Granted, this may not be the best measurement of total funding overall, but it is the best public information can get us.
In 2020, the gym roof was replaced for $78,200.
In 2015, repairs on the middle school's roof finished, with a total cost of $226,000. To quote the administration on this one, "With all the rain storms that have occurred, I am happy to report that there are NO leaks". This is the most significant expense on the middle school to date.
In 2014, two storm drains were repaired. Additionally, the carpet in WMS was either replaced with new carpet, or replaced with a new tile. Many of the walls were also given a fresh coat of paint. This cost $113,445. Some of the doors were replaced for an estimated $4,000.
This was the band/gym hallway, located between the gym and cafeteria. The carpet had been removed at this stage, and painting had begun.
Another image of the band/gym hallway. Notice how the paint we have all know and love is finished.
Final image of the band/gym hallway, as the finished product.
Williamston Middle School has experienced a lot of vandalism at the hands of the student population. During the 2017 - 2018 school year, it was common practice to rip the soap dispensers off the bathroom walls and deposited them in a neighboring toilet. They were sometimes pissed on. This resulted in countless soap dispenser fatalities, as the administration had to replace them. That same year, a five foot long schlong was scratched into a stall wall in the 8th grade bathroom. It remains there to this day, but is somewhat faded. The lockers of Williamston Middle School vary in status. Some lockers are fine, but many have been dented due to being kicked, and also have scribbled marker and the remnants of graffiti inside.
Public Controversy and Press Coverage
In 2018, Williamston Middle School introduced two "Innovation Labs". These were promised to be "State of the Art". Spina makes a speech at WMS during the opening cermony infront of the 6th grade bathrooms. Other staff members can be seen in the video attached to the article.
|1. Personal accounts from Willemstan members.||2. Williamston Community Schools Website - Williamston Middle School Main Page.||3. Williamston Community Schools Website - Administration Page.|
|4. Great Schools - Williamston Middle School||5. Capital Area District Library Website - Come Visit the New CADL Williamston||6. WITL.com - THE WILLIAMSTON LIBRARY IS MOVING|
|7. Capital Area District Library Website - Williamston||8. Hornet Hive Podcast - Episode One||9. Williamston Community Schools Website - Middle School Media Center Concept|
|10. Hornet Hive Podcast - Episode Four||11. Hornet Hive Podcast - Episode Six||12. Williamston-MI.us - Council Packet|
|13. Williamston Community Schools Website - Sinking Fund||14. Fox News - SState of the Art Innovation Labs Open at Williamston Middle School|