“It’s great to see it happening,” WVHS principal Danny Coggin said. “I’m excited that it is going to happen. It is going to help us.”
The classrooms are being built to storm-shelter standards, which allowed the school system to apply and receive a reimbursable grant for a portion of the project.
“We are on schedule. Basically it is a lot of masonry and roughing,” Cason Conn of Tri-Conn Construction said.
Conn said following the FEMA guidelines means approaching the project a little differently. Wiring has to be in as the walls are going up, instead of being taken care of afterward.
Many pieces used in the building also have to be specially designed, which slightly affects the timing.
“The middle of next week we are going to be at the bearing height for the second floor,” Conn said. “The brick will be in a week and a half.”
The brick will be used to make the addition match the rest of the school.
Conn said only the windows will look different. Storm-resistant windows are being used, and they do not come in a style that matches the rest of the school.
The classrooms will allow the school to have a designated computer lab again.
Coggin said when the school first opened there were eight computer labs. All of the labs have since been converted to classrooms to accommodate a growing student population.
Teachers have also been rotating to different rooms to accommodate the crowded school.
“We’ll still share classrooms, but that’s OK. Teachers are getting used to that,” Coggin said.
In addition to the eight-classroom pod, Tri-Conn is also expanding the cafeteria.
“That won’t take long at all,” Conn said. “It’s one story, but it is also normal building.”
The student population has led to some creative solutions in the past, including an hour school-wide lunch. During hour lunch, students could eat anywhere in the school.
Coggin said this practice has been discontinued this year due to safety.
“It (the addition to the cafeteria) is going to be extremely helpful,” Coggin said.
The principal estimated that the expansion will make room for 160 more seats in the cafeteria. Coggin said the school currently has 1,550 students.
Tri-conn hopes to finish the cafeteria during the school’s Christmas break. The classroom wing will be completed by April.