Educators eager to show off school renovations

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — As construction on Carroll high and intermediate schools wraps up, educators look forward to inviting the public in to see the upgrades.
Most of the contractor’s trucks have moved on to other projects as the workers’ to-do list has shrunk to things like pouring the terrazzo floors in the entranceway at the high school and digging a retention pond at the intermediate school, along with other various odds and ends, said Schools Superintendent Strader Blankenship.
School officials hope to take possession of both buildings in January in order to move ahead with other preparations for opening.
Items that workers will focus on include wiring for smart boards and getting furniture in, he said. A lot of technology at the closing Woodlawn School — such as computers, networks and security — needs to be moved to the upgraded facilities over the summer.
Educators hope to have open houses in March.
“We’ll be pushing our staff to get things up and running for next school year,” Blankenship said.
This phase III of a countywide school construction program may be as notable for the improvements that educators tried to fit into the budget but couldn’t.
Original plans had a ninth grade wing to house the students being moved over from the intermediate school, situated where the baseball field is now on the east side of the campus. But, the funding fell short.
While county officials also had hoped to update the four-decades-old heating and air conditioning system at the high school, there has been no movement to make that happen.
County officials have long feared a complete breakdown of the water circulation heating and cooling system.
Educators also lobbied to build an auxiliary gym to have more room for physical education classes, but that didn’t happen either.
“Our P.E. classes are going to be really stuffed into the gym,” Blankenship said. “I’ve heard nothing of any movement on anything relating to those other issues.”
Blankenship said he’s looking forward to the open houses in March, to show off things like the new and improved science labs on the second floor of the high school and the new classrooms at CCIS, which is being renamed Carroll County Middle School this summer.
“Our science folks at the high school have been doing without proper equipment for quite a long time,” Blankenship said. “We’ll be able to do a lot more ‘hands-on’ with our students, and that’s just more educationally sound.
“I’m really looking forward to the open houses so people can come in and see what’s been done,” the superintendent said.