Although the new and improved won't be ready when students return for the new school year Sept. 4, district residents can still catch an early glimpse of the ongoing progress.
School officials on Monday toured the three-story building, which is in the midst of extensive renovations in Sewickley.
Tim Glancy, the project's general contractor, said the renovations are moving along with a completion date set for Nov. 30. Students officially start classes Jan. 7 in the building.
Scott Smith, construction manager, said one benefit of starting the project about is carpenters and workers are finishing up other school jobs and available to work at the site.
“We’re seeing a huge influx of construction workers right now…it’s great," Smith said.
The includes the addition of a new 505-seat auditorium similar to the O'Reilly Theater as well as a new wellness center next to the gymnasium equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines and other fitness equipment.
Superintendent Joseph Clapper said the fitness equipment wasn’t budgeted in the project, but was funded thanks to $60,000 in donations. He said the equipment will be available for student use before and after school, as well as for community use.
The building also includes an for orchestra, band, chorus and the arts, in addition to family consumer and IT classes. Other features include a manufacturing and pre-engineering area; artificial turf and a 6-foot between the field and the road; and safety designs for anyone entering the building. Principal offices, a guidance suite and the nurse's office are in a centralized location at the building entrance.
"It's looking great," said Sean Aiken, middle school principal.
Clapper said a lot of attention is paid to detail.
Plenty of natural light pours into the school, courtesy of an abundance of windows. New windows have been cut into the building, said Joseph Marrone, director of administrative services, and to conserve energy, lights automatically turn off in the rooms, he said.
Once completed, the middle school will house students in sixth through eighth grades. Seventh- and eighth-grade students will continue at this fall same as they did during the 2011-12 year.
Clapper said students will get a tour prior to starting classes in order to get acclimated to their new building.
“Mostly they don’t know the building, and the eighth graders are a year and a half removed from it,” he said.
In the past couple weeks, Aiken said students and parents who are new to have also been given a walk through the changes that are happening this school year due to the construction.
While teachers, staff, students and parents have been working through the transition, Aiken admits he's looking forward to having the entire family under one roof in the new building.
"I think we’re going to be even that much more thankful. It's going to be amazing to be back," Aiken said.