Mike James The Independent The Daily Independent Tue May 01, 2012, 11:03 AM EDT
CANNONSBURG — The new Boyd County High School is on schedule for completion late this year, and some members of the Boyd County Board of Education got an up-close look at the progress being made Monday.
They toured the 144,000-square-foot building with project manager Kevin Cheek and construction manager Rusty Evans before the board meeting.
“This is even better than I imagined,” board chairman Bob Green said.
With construction on schedule, the plan is to hold a dedication in December and start classes in the new school in January 2013, said Superintendent Howard K. Osborne. “We’re going to give the community a Christmas present,” he said.
Almost all the brick that sheathes the concrete walls has been installed, as have windows on the two sides of the building, Evans said. Much of the library area framing is complete, the floors are laid and drywall is in finishing stages.
Designers have called it “the heart of the school,” and it will incorporate large expanses of glass to bring in light and afford views to the outside.
Heating and air conditioning units are in place and workers are in the process of connecting them to ductwork. The entire building is under roof, and gas and water lines have been installed.
Most of the curbs and gutters have been put in and workers are getting started on concrete paving.
The gym is nearing completion; when the school opens most of the varsity basketball games will be hosted there.
It includes a mezzanine level that will have a walking track and also an archery area.
The auditorium shows signs of its eventual configuration, which will be suitable for school arts programs, and, because it will have theatrical lighting and sound systems, will be usable by visiting artists and professional productions, Osborne said.
The school was designed with service areas overhead and behind classroom walls so maintenance workers can access power and plumbing without disrupting classes. Those areas are beginning to take shape.
Almost all classrooms are placed so they get natural light through large windows. The north-facing windows in the art room, for instance, are six feet by 12 feet.
Halls and stairwells are built with clear lines of sight in mind, so faculty can monitor student activity throughout the building.
“This is a 21st century facility, the most modern school in Kentucky. It’s something our community has dreamed about for many years,” Osborne said.
Much planning went into the design to make it community-friendly, he said. “We have tried to build a high school that will function for at least 50 years,” he said. Part of that plan is the 136 additional acres at the site, plenty of room for a regional technical school, playing fields and other facilities. Those projects are in the future and will have to wait until the district has money to pay for them.
The school will be furnished with all new desks, chairs and other furniture, Green said. About the only items that will be moved from the current school are computers and similar technology equipment.
The district will find some use for the old school, perhaps for housing its Head Start program or for college programs, he said.