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JB High School's extreme makeover about to be revealed

August 30, 2011
  • In this Herald-Mail file photo from last year, James Buchanan High School principal Rodney Benedick talks about the new look of the library, which is part of an $17 million renovation under way at the school. Benedick said Tuesday that crews are working extended hours to put the finishing touches on the project.
Herald-Mail file photo

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — While work is just beginning at Mercersburg Elementary, construction is coming to a close at James Buchanan High School.

High school Principal Rodney Benedick said Tuesday that crews are working extended hours to put the finishing touches on the $17 million renovation project.

When students come to school on Tuesday, Benedick said they will be pleasantly surprised by all the changes.

They'll be greeted by a new, digital marquee sign at the entrance to the high school campus. Money for the sign was donated by James Buchanan's Class of 1993.

Another new sign hangs at the entrance to the school building followed by a new, upgraded building.

"Everything in the building has been upgraded cosmetically and mechanically," Benedick said.

The school office has new furnishings, and the main corridor opens up to the renovated cafeteria.

The cafeteria has new flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows for more natural light and a wider entrance, Benedick said.

"All the classrooms have new everything — new ceiling, new paint, new electrical, new HVAC, new windows ... more windows," Benedick said.

The school has approximately 40 classrooms, he said.

The auditorium has been completely upgraded with 640 new seats to replace the missing and broken ones.

Other improvements include: new library, a gym that was completed in the fall of 2010, and upgraded band room, chorus room, tech shops (art classroom, two tech rooms, ag room) and six student restrooms.

Now that JBHS has been renovated, Benedick is challenging students to have a new attitude about academic excellence.

"I think some of our excuses of why we couldn't achieve greatness in the past are sort of out of the way now. Not that it's an overnight kind of process, but it does start to chip away at some of those things that are wrong with you. I think we need to change our expectations ... and get to where we can expect an excellent experience here," Benedick said.

He said some work could continue through September.

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— Roxann Miller

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