$4.3 million school project underway

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By Ben Hyatt


It’s been two years in the making and plans are now underway for a $4.3 million building expansion project.

The project will include high school renovations and construction of an Athletic Complex field house.

Marrillia Construction, of Lexington, was awarded the winning bid of $3,569,697 for total construction cost with contingent money bringing the final total to $4.3 million.

 “This actually has been a plan in the making for two years,” explained Superintendent Andy Dotson. “We have searched for the best solution and we are now ready to move forward with those plans.”

According to Debra Fischer, assistant superintendent, the funds used for the renovation and new construction are restricted funds that can only be used for renovation and new construction projects.

“We recently paid off some of our previous bonds,” explained Fischer. “We felt that this was a good opportunity to use the money generated from bond sales to upgrade our facilities, which is a never-ending process.”

The renovations, at the high school, will include upgrades mainly to the band room foyer area and new Project Lead the Way classrooms.

According to David Case, director of facilities and district assessment coordinator, major renovations will include an overhaul of the band room and additional stalls and urinals in the band foyer restrooms, which are typically used during ball games.

“We have to make the most out of the space that we have,” said Case. “To my knowledge some of that area has never been upgraded, so it will be nice to bring everything up to date.”

Along with renovations to the  band room and foyer, the current Project Lead the Way classrooms, taught by Roger Hurst and Larry Kendall, will be moved to the second floor of the school directly over the library.

“We are moving those two classrooms because it makes more sense to have the FFA classes next to the agriculture shops,” explained Case.

A new walkway, which will be ADA accessible, will also be constructed that will allow access to FFA classrooms and the band room.

“The new ramp will also serve as another entrance from the student parking lot to the gym area,” explained Case. “This will help cut down on the congestion during games at the student drop-off area and provide a shorter walk inside for anyone using the parking lot.”

The high school will also see renovations outside with the demolition of the old tennis courts, which will provide an estimated 58 new parking spaces, as well as removing the above ground storage tanks.

“There will be a new receiving area in the back and new pavement that will eliminate water and drainage issues that we have,” said Case.

The projected date of completion for the renovation has been set for Oct. 15. However, the goal is for all construction to be done by the start of the new school year.

New construction of the field house located near the Athletic Complex has also begun.

 The multi use field house will include shower areas, two locker rooms, coaches offices, training room, hallway restrooms, storage, pitching area, batting area, golf area and temporary weight room.

“The new field house will present a wealth of opportunities for our student athletes,” said Dotson. “With different types of removable netting and equipment, we will be able to facilitate all the sports that we house during the different seasons.”

Dotson and Case explained that since the athletic complex has been in use, students have been forced to use the middle school to prepare for games, then walk to the complex for games.

“It is somewhat of a inconvenience for the students and a hazard for having to walk to the complex sometime at night with heavy traffic,” said Case. “We will now have everything the students need at one place without having the hassle of dressing one place and playing at another.”

 Dotson said the tentative date for completion of the field house is February 2014.