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Contractors working overtime on WASHS renovations

July 03, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- Although Waynesboro Area Senior High School students are on a break for the summer, contractors expanding and renovating their school are pulling 10-hour days, and some plan to start working weekends to ensure enough classroom space is available for the Sept. 2 start of classes.

"The whole time we're doing this, we have to have 71 teaching areas available," said Jeff Adams, the school district's maintenance supervisor.

To ensure that classrooms are open, workers have shifted focus away from converting the old auditorium into a cafeteria. That cafeteria won't be open until a few months of the school year have passed.

The entire $46 million project, previously slated for completion in April 2009, now has a projected finish in the fall or early winter of 2009, Adams said. That will include paved parking lots, landscaping and demolition in the part of the existing building known as D wing, he said.

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One hundred to 125 workers have been at the site daily this summer, Adams said.

Among them are local electricians from Oller Electric, which Adams said is "bearing the brunt of the work" right now. Plumbers plan to start working weekends mid-month.

"All of the trades are pushing pretty hard," Adams said.

On Wednesday, men and women in hard hats worked in dust-covered hallways, moving around chairs and desks piled in spaces off to the side. Many classrooms were packed up by teachers at the end of last school year, and the items now are stored in the old cafeteria, wrestling room and two off-site storage facilities.

Initial use of the band and chorus rooms, locker rooms and gymnasium became available in the spring. Teenagers used the fitness room for weightlifting this week.

Conversion under way in the old gymnasium will make two floors of classrooms for technology education, family and consumer sciences, and business educational uses.

The district has saved the gymnasium floor boards on which the Indian mascot was painted during the school's 1988 renovation. The original Indian head, painted in 1966 and removed prior to that earlier renovation, already hangs in a frame in a hallway.

"Hopefully, some senior or junior will want to do that (framing with the 1988 one) as their class project," Adams said.

The school's old cafeteria will be converted into a media center. The old library will be made into classrooms.

"That work will be done when the kids are here," Adams said. Partitions will be put up for safety purposes, he said.

Crews started turning the old locker rooms into art classrooms at the end of the school year, and those rooms almost are ready for occupancy. The language classrooms have been gutted and staged differently, and old science rooms are being renovated and new ones created from old art rooms.

While the two-level auditorium currently has dirt floors, Adams said it should be available for use in November.

Quirky facts



· Newly installed motion sensor lights turn off room lights 30 seconds after people leave.

· Bleachers in the three-court, 22,000-square-foot gymnasium can seat more than 1,600 people.

· The women's restroom outside the gymnasium has 30 toilet stalls.

· The cafeteria will have three cashier stands to make it more of a food-court style.

· About 45 stairs lead from the gymnasium to the level above it. School officials put traction tape on the railing to discourage students from sliding down it last year.

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