The ongoing construction connecting the SCR-I high school and elementary school can be seen in the background of the new playground location, north of the elementary school, next to the football grandstands. The expansion project and renovations likely will continue into the start of the new school year with a deadline of November 30 for completion.

Things are going to look quite a bit different on the Scotland County R-I campus this school year, even if it won’t all be completed when classes start later this month.

The district is undertaking a $1.225 million expansion, adding a roughly 5,000 square foot addition between the high school and elementary school to house the early childhood development program, elementary school library, and special education and therapy facilities.

The project bids allow a deadline of November 30th for the construction to be completed.

Superintendent Ryan Bergeson noted that was a concession the district was forced to make when the project was rebid in an effort to reduce costs, before the contracts were finally awarded in April to Bleigh Construction.

While work is ongoing in the new expansion, the district is also undertaking a number of related projects. Hamlin Construction has installed new sidewalk entrances at the high school east entrance, eliminating the step and making a new zero entry approach. The contractor will also be constructing a new sidewalk on the south side of the high school building to connect the two high school parking lots.

Bergeson noted this is necessary because the entrance from the student parking lot on the west side of the school will be closed during school hours, with all entry to the high school only being available at the main entrance on the east side of the school adjacent to the office.

Dial Construction is working to complete the new vestibule connecting the high school and the vo-ag building. Previously the two buildings had only been connected by a covered sidewalk. The new construction will enclose this access for better security.

Bergeson noted that the expansion project also includes renovations in the vo-ag building, which will now house the new band room. The entire building exterior is being updated with new metal as well as new exterior windows. A new women’s restroom was added as well.

Other changes in the existing high school building included a remodel of the library. A new dividing wall was installed for the computer labs and a pair of project workstations are being added to allow student groups to better work on multi-media group projects.

The upgrades will mean that the weight room will be the only exterior building that students will still have to access, as special education, Spanish and band have all been moved under one roof through the recent renovations.

Bergeson noted that the district had 100s of students entering and exiting the building daily to access classrooms, a situation that was not ideal during winter and inclement weather. It also represented a significant security risk, with a  multitude of entrances the district was forced to monitor.

As part of the expansion project, the west elementary school playground was relocated north of the school between the football field grand stands. The 100×70 area has been upgraded with new recycled rubber surface materials for safety.

Bergeson noted the proximity to the football field will allow for dual purpose, as the playground will be able to be used by children during home games.

The superintendent added that with the first three football games of 2018 all on the road, the district will benefit from the scheduling break as construction hopefully will be winding down at that time.