Parents visit with teachers, cafeteria

Tony Parra

Portales school officials were able to accomplish two goals when they held a parent-teacher conference in the newly-renovated Portales High School cafeteria on Monday.
Parents were able to talk with teachers about student progress. And they got to view the new cafeteria.
The cafeteria had an addition to it which eliminated an open space in between from the cafeteria and the main building. Construction began on the cafeteria in June of 2002, according to Dr. James Holloway, superintendent of Portales schools.
“We wanted to open it in mid-spring, but there was difficulty with some of the underground pipes,” Holloway said. “It caused some delays and they also had to work on the junior high construction.”
Before the addition, students would walk outside before reaching the cafeteria from the main building. The new part of the cafeteria has a higher circle-shaped ceiling with many windows attached to the old part of the cafeteria, which has been renovated.
There were mixed reactions over the new cafeteria.
“It seems that a lot of expense went to it that they didn’t need,” said Paula Stevens, a parent with three children in the Portales public schools.
Other parents had more positive views.
“I think it’s great,” Lori Bollema, a parent with a freshman at PHS, said. “I like the setup.”
The additions will triple the space, Holloway said.
“We’re trying to meet the students’ needs and we’re concerned over their safety,” Holloway said. “We don’t want them to have car accidents, tardiness and traffic violations. They have 45 minutes to eat lunch. If they stay here and eat, they’ll have 20 minutes left after lunch. They don’t have to hurry to class.”
There are also future plans for additional indoor space between the cafeteria and theater buildings.
“We would like to add on to this area, eventually,” Holloway said. “We would like to have an amphitheater in the middle of campus. It will tie in these buildings.”
Parents were able to asses the waiting lines at each of the tables and go to the tables with the fewest amount of people. There were over 50 faculty members at the event.
“We feel the set up is more convenient for the parents,” Melvin Nusser, the PHS principal, said. “We’ve had 135 parents attend in about 1 1/2 hours, which is about as many as we had last year for the entire day.”
The parent-teacher conferences lasted eight hours.