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Crawford County Community School Corp. trustees and officials tour one of the renovated science labs at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School prior to the board of trustees’ July 19 meeting. The science labs are expected to be ready by the first day of classes, Aug. 10. Photo by Chris Adams

Trustees impressed with labs, media center

July 27, 2011
The Crawford County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees appeared impressed during a tour last Tuesday evening of the approximately $1.5 million renovation project at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.

Board members, prior to their regular monthly meeting, first visited the overhauled science area, where six outdated classrooms are being turned into three modern science labs and one vocational agriculture lab.

Upon entering one of the labs, Debbie Kaiser seemed to sum up the thoughts of her fellow trustees with just two words: "Oh my …"

She and the rest of the board commented not only about the rooms' amenities, including new cabinets and sinks as well as separate, ample-sized prep areas between the labs, but their brightness, especially when compared to the old classrooms. The renovated labs, with light tan walls and windows, are a stark contrast to the formerly dark classrooms with no natural light.

The construction portion of the renovation — the science area's first significant upgrade since the high school opened in the mid-1970s — likely will be at a point this week where equipment can begin being installed, Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge told the trustees. That, he added, should allow the labs to be ready for the start of classes on Aug. 10.

Work on the media center, however, may not be completed until the second week of school, Eastridge said. Still, enough progress has been made to make the area unrecognizable from when students last saw it in May.

During the school board's tour of the area, Eastridge noted where amenities, including a 30-station computer lab and interactive SMART Board, will be located, while Principal Karen Sheller pointed to a room on the side of the media center that has a glass wall and doors and will be used for a variety of activities, from presentations to testing.

While the concrete floor is still exposed and the walls only have been painted with primer, a skylight has been installed, with another expected to be put in this week. Like the science classrooms, the media center, located in the building's center, has had no windows.

The project is being financed primarily through an essentially no-interest loan funded from the sale of federal Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. In addition, the Crawford County Council authorized the school corporation to use up to $250,000 of the gaming dollars it receives from the county toward the project.

Eastridge is hopeful to have enough money leftover to renovate a couple of rest rooms. However, the project's current $95,000 estimated cost exceeds the overall budget, he said.

Later, during its meeting and at Eastridge's request, the board voted 5-1 to authorize him to negotiate the cost with the project's architect and contractor, Michell Timperman Ritz Architects and James L. Shireman Inc., respectively, and report back to the board at its special meeting Friday, Aug. 5, at 4:30 p.m. at the administration office south of Marengo. Trustee Lucas Stroud, who is employed with Shireman, abstained. Myrna Sanders, the seven-member board's other member, was absent.

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