Schools

CHS in final stages of renovation process

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A six-phase renovation effort at Crawfordsville High School is complete.

Save a few odds and ends, the $10 million project saw improvements to many areas of campus, including classrooms, lockers, bathrooms, offices, entrances, athletic complexes and parking lots.

“Students and staff have done a phenomenal job co-existing with the construction environment,” Crawfordsville Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker said. “The phasing has been very well planned out and has made safety a priority. It’s kept our students, staff and construction workers safe. We start every construction meeting going over safety concerns.”

Originally estimated to be complete by the summer of 2021, crews from Lafayette’s Kettelhut Construction have been able to work ahead during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ryker has overseen district-wide renovation projects for the past five years. A $5 million project for pool, roof and masonry work was completed in early spring as the next project to renovate classrooms, offices and commons areas, as well as provide a new entrance, began.

Parking lot and drive restoration, added parking spaces at the new entrance, athletic track resurfacing and other athletic plaza renovations were estimated to be complete between May and December, and are now reported as finished.

And the new entrance, located just west of the original entryway, is now in use.

The new gateway is intended to solve a number of issues as administrators across the country vie to increase security measures.

“With our (old) entrance there was no security; once you go in, you can go anywhere,” Ryker said. “But now during the school day people will have to come in this entrance and it’ll be secure with access control.”

Each elementary school in the district — Nicholson, Hose and Hoover — has seen a transformation in recent years as security efforts increase. Visitors are now “buzzed in” during school hours at the front door and pass through a secured area before they are allowed into the office to sign in.

Additionally, most of the buildings in the district have been fitted with updated heating and cooling systems in the past few years, with each using air filters rated at 10 or above on the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating system.

A MERV rating of 10 is what “general hospital-type settings” use, but filters with a MERV rating of 13 have been installed in each building in response to the pandemic.

“All of our buildings will hit complete refreshed air 6-10 times an hour, so we’re at or under 10 minutes for a complete refresh,” Ryker said. “That goes with why we don’t have to open the windows.”

In a typical year, renovation can be a burden to teachers attempting to hold class. But since the pandemic left the high school’s campus largely vacant this summer, the majority of construction efforts stayed ahead of schedule.

“Teachers have done really well,” Ryker said. “Construction projects have usually created a lot of anxiety for teachers, and now it’s not even ever really mentioned. That is one thing that they just roll with. CHS Principal Greg Hunt does a fabulous job trying to take care of everything for his staff there.”

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