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A Harter Construction employee installs a lighting fixture in the family and consumer sciences room at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School. The new classroom will have six work stations for students. Photo by Leslie Radcliff

Cooking up new classrooms

July 18, 2012
When students return to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School next month, they will probably notice a few changes.

During the summer break, crews from Harter Construction, of Harrison County, have been working diligently to bring new life into the art and family and consumer sciences rooms. The gymnasium floor has also received a new lease on life.

Crawford County Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge said the renovated art classroom will boast a new ceramics area complete with kiln, new cabinets and more efficient storage spaces, a SMART Board and new lit display cases to showcase student work.

"We couldn't get all the stuff out," Eastridge said. "We really wanted them to be able to see all the student work. So, by putting multiple shelves, we can get the three-dimensional stuff out where it can be seen."

In the family and consumer sciences room, there will be six new cooking areas for students. They will feature microwaves, stoves, sinks and new islands as workstations.

The only hitch in the entire plan is the cabinets for both rooms will be installed later than expected. The projected arrival date of the cabinets is Aug. 22, with completion of the project happening around Labor Day, almost three weeks after students arrive back at school.

"I've been told that the big part of that (the cabinet delay) is the guy who got the bid, the manufacturer, is the same one who got the Henryville project," Eastridge said. "They have to get all the Henryville cabinets in first."

The gymnasium floor was redone, complete with a new paint job.

"We just re-did it this summer; it looked bad and it had some bad sections in it," Eastridge said. "It hadn't been redone in years and was all yellow."

Eastridge said the reason the corporation has been able to renovate the classrooms and work areas instead of building on is because student enrollment hasn't increased much.

"There's not a lot of growth," he said. "We're staying about the same. That's why we're able to renovate areas and not have to add on."

Enrollment corporation-wide — the five elementary schools and CCJSHS — is about 1,600 students.

Because of budget cuts that have taken place during the last several years, the corporation has lost almost $4 million of funding. This year alone, it lost about $500,000.

"My predecessor told me when I first started here, 'You're only one bad decision away,' " Eastridge said. "We can't make one bad fiscal decision."

He cited this advice and reasoning as his motivation for finding many of the grants and zero-interest loans the corporation has acquired in order to supplement the budget.

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