By Jordan Hill
Writer, The News Courier
With only seven weeks left until school starts, the new Bacon County Middle/High School is making swift progress.
The 197,000-square-foot building has new furniture coming into the high school portion this week.
“We will bring some furniture from the old school but we won’t put it in a general classroom setting,” Scott Taylor, Facilities and Maintenance Director, said.
The school holds many new features.
The feature that Taylor is most excited about is the software for energy management. The software will be able to control the room temperatures in the building.
“We hope we save thousands of dollars with this,” he said. “You can anticipate the light bill here being probably $10,000 a month.”
Other new features include impact-resistant glass at both school entrances.
To get into the schools, people will have to be buzzed in through the administration. No exterior door keys will be given away. “It will all be proximity readers with cards, which too, can be controlled by software,” Taylor said. “At our current high school, you can kind of come and go as you please. You wont be able to do that here.”
The media center will host mobile bookshelves and the three-tiered cafeteria will have five serving lines. “Becky Swain had a lot of input into this,” Taylor said. “She did a good job.”
The lunchroom will be able to “handle more (students) at one time” as compared to the current middle/high school.
The athletic department received a major upgrade. The field house will be inside and have a bigger weight room: 3,000 square feet as compared to the current 1,600 square feet field house. There will be a laundry room with two 65 pound capacity washers and two 75 pound capacity dryers. The high school gym will be able to seat 1,100 people.
“That’s 200-300 more than the current gym,” Taylor said.
The high school will house four science labs as requested by the science instructors.
The band instructor will also have his say about the band room. “It’s about the only room that will have carpet,” Taylor said. The instructor will decide if he wants carpet, sound boards, etc. to enhance the sound of the room.
The middle school has its own gym, multipurpose room and locker rooms.
“In the beginning, one thing from the community was that they wanted to separate middle and high school as much as possible,” Taylor said.
The contractors handled this by making the schools as separate as possible. The two schools will only share the lunchroom, media center, nurse’s office and vocational wing. The nurse’s office connects to the health care occupations room.
“They’ll be able to let some students do some work for the nurse,” Taylor said.
He compared the building of Long County’s school last year to the progress of Bacon County’s middle/high school.
“The contractor did Long County’s school last year and they were at the same point we are at now and they were able to be there for the first day of school,” he said.
The school has gotten 80 percent checkoff from the fire marshall. “We feel very confident that on July 16 when we try to get administration in here that he’ll give us a temporary certificate of occupancy,” Taylor said. “You can’t come in the building until he says you can.”
August 18 is quickly approaching and while Taylor knows there will be problems to work through, he is confident that things will work out. “We have a long way to go in a little bit of time,” he said. “Is everything going to be right the first day? No. You can’t build something this size and everything be perfect day one. You have to work through things. We’ve got something we’re gonna be really proud of.”
Published in The News Courier