After returning for the start of classes last week, Bowling Green High School students might notice their school in a whole new light.
As progress continues on renovations of the aging high school, workers have begun laying brick on the exterior of a 90,000-square-foot classroom wing, with a portion of the brick on the lower part of the building having a purple tint.
Bowling Green Independent School District Superintendent Gary Fields said Monday following a meeting of the district’s board of education that work on phase I renovations is picking up steam.
“Two of the four sections are under roof,” Fields said in an interview after board members met and heard a progress update, along with approving a slight cost increase related to the project.
With two sections “dried in,” or shielded from the weather, Fields said the remaining two sections should follow in the next few weeks.
“That just really speeds up the process,” allowing for plumbing, wiring and other weather-sensitive work, Fields said.
Included in phase I renovations is the construction of a large classroom wing, meant to accommodate most of the school’s classrooms while work continues on other parts of the building in a later phase. The district is working with a roughly $22.5 million budget for phase I.
On Monday, the district’s school board opted to approve a change order amounting to an increase of $20,304.04 for what officials described as a higher quality wiring network that can accommodate technology upgrades in the future.
“It’s a much better quality wire. It’s something that can handle speeds much faster than we currently have,” said William King, the district’s director of technology. “We don’t want to open the building and already be outdated.”
The high school is moving forward in other ways. Walls on the high school’s new kitchen, which is between 8,000 and 9,000 square feet, are also coming up, Fields said, and school officials are planning to meet with designers next week to order furniture for the school.
“We took the entire high school staff through last week. I think that really got them excited,” Fields said.
With the plan being to finish phase I next spring and move in come June, the classroom addition will be in use “before we know it,” Fields said.
The district is already pivoting toward phase II, Fields said, adding the plan is to approach the board with a plan next month about how to make that happen.
“I would expect that we’ll have an announcement by this time next month,” he said.