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School board members tour Waynesboro Area Senior High School renovations

September 19, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- It was as much a trip down memory lane as it was a tour of Waynesboro Area Senior High School construction.

"I had English in here with Mrs. Bushman," John Fitz said, entering a renovated science lab Thursday.

Fitz, who graduated in 1966, joined two of his fellow school board members, Pat Heefner and Stanley Barkdoll, on a tour of the ongoing $46 million expansion and renovation at the high school. The three reminisced about years past as they explored completed rooms and those that remain construction zones.

While the new gym is in full use, the new cafeteria and new auditorium are two months from being completed. The entire project, which officially started with a January 2007 groundbreaking, will continue through late fall or early winter of 2009.

"I really like the feel of the pride that the community can have in this facility," said Principal Christopher Dennis, who conducted the tour.

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Fitz said he looks forward to the feedback that will come when community events again begin to be hosted at the school.

The cafeteria retains some of the walls from when it was the auditorium. Dennis said students will probably get their food in a setting similar to a college, approaching various serving stations and cash registers rather than waiting in one line.

"I want to see the new cafeteria," said Brittney Horn, a 14-year-old freshman waiting outside for Back-to-School Night.

She and her friends described the school as a maze where they often encounter blocked entrances and temporary walls they haven't seen before. While they said that construction noise can be distracting, Brittney and fellow freshmen Maria Stromberg and Meghan Green agreed that the efforts will be worthwhile in the long run.

What was the first floor of the school has now become its third floor. A new main entrance will eventually open one floor lower than the East Second Street entrance temporarily used during construction.

The words "Indian Pride" remain in what was the gymnasium, but they'll disappear as the space continues to be converted into technology education classrooms.

The board members were in awe -- perhaps best demonstrated with Barkdoll's comment of "whoa" -- when they walked onto the 1,600-seat auditorium's mezzanine level.

"I had a friend of mine from high school surprise me with a visit a few weeks back. He and I walked through, and he said, 'This sure isn't the school we graduated from,'" Dennis said. A 1990 graduate, the principal attended the high school during its last renovation.

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