MUNFORDVILLE — During the first week of the spring 2017 semester, the sound of jackhammers and backhoes digging into the pavement outside could faintly be heard in some parts of Hart County High School as construction crews worked on the earliest stages of the school’s renovations.
Hart County Schools Superintendent Ricky Line said the plan is, through careful rearranging, to keep offering regular school curriculum in a part of the school that isn’t being renovated.
“We are moving 100 percent of our students into 40 percent of the school,” he said.
The building is roughly 50 years old and has out-of-date heating and cooling systems, Line said, adding that leaks in the roof are a prominent issue.
“Over time, between the heat and the air and the leaks, it’s time for a new school,” he said.
The district has been meaning to renovate the high school for years, Line said.
To renovate the school, the district requires Urgent Needs funds from the Kentucky Department of Education, which are given out to help districts pay for projects like large-scale renovations, he said, adding that the district was on the Urgent Needs waiting list for years.
“We were hoping to get this done six years ago, then four years ago, then two years ago but the urgent need funding was not there,” he said.
According to Donna Duncan, KDE’s director of district support, Hart County Schools received $19,186,600 through the School Facilities Construction Commission. The project is estimated to cost $33,620,120 total, with the remainder of the bill to be paid by the school board.
Greg Cecil, Hart County High principal, said the entire school building except the gym will be demolished in time. The gym will be renovated while a large portion of the school, which includes the cafeteria, is demolished so it can be rebuilt. When it’s rebuilt, which should be some time in summer 2018, it will have two floors instead of one and classes will move into the new building. After classes are moved, the structure they’re currently in would be demolished.
In the meantime, students will have PE classes either outside or in the weight room, depending on the weather, and eat in a former classroom that has been converted into a cafeteria.
The only difficulties in adjusting to the school’s new layout came on Tuesday morning, when some students had trouble figuring out where they were supposed to park, a problem that did not occur the next day.
“Everyone came in today and knew where to park,” Cecil said on Wednesday.
The district has been planning this project since mid-summer and has been preparing students for the change, he said.
“Our students are very resilient,” he said. “They knew this was coming.”
Devon Avery, who teaches students with moderate to severe disabilities at the high school, said adjusting to the change has been easy for her students.
Like most of the teachers in the school, she is still using the same classroom as usual, she said.
To accommodate students in the smaller temporary lunchroom, the school tweaked its schedule, adding an extra lunch period, but the schedule is otherwise practically the same as it was before, Avery said.
“Keeping that routine has been really good,” she said.
Avery is looking forward to having a room with windows when the renovations are complete, she said, adding that the slight hurdles will be worth it when the school is updated.
“I think there’s always going to be transition time but they’ve been good about warning us,” she said. “Nothing’s been a huge surprise.”
— Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.