Jonesboro High School Gets $1.7 Million Face Lift - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Jonesboro High School Gets $1.7 Million Face Lift

July 8, 2004 -- Posted at 3:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- It doesn't seem that long ago that students began their summer vacations... and now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, the start of another school year is looming just around the corner.  As teachers and students start thinking about the new school year, some schools in Region 8 are making big changes.

One school is undergoing a major renovation.  It's a big project for a big school. The Jonesboro High School is getting a face-lift, something that doesn't come cheap.

Clint Byard is the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the school.  He says the school needed renovations.

"Here at the high school, we've got approximately 1.7 million dollars of renovations going on, and this includes a mechanical renovation, which includes a large portion of the building converted to geothermal heating and cooling system," said Byard.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sue Castleberry said, "With new construction and renovation the rooms are larger. They're better, better insulated. As far as spirit, I can tell you that having a new heating and cooling system at the high school is going to be tremendously positive."

It's not easy renovating a building on such a short deadline. Workers and teachers return to their classrooms on August 10th, and students will report for the first day of school on August 19th.

"The media center has been gutted. We're dropping the ceilings, putting in new lighting, heating and air and mechanical systems. Total revamp. It will be a different looking building when we're completed with it," said Byard.

Both workers and faculty members will be racing against the clock to put the school back together before August 10th. One of the biggest challenges they'll meet, finding a home for all 38,000 books that were packed up.

Byard said, "We're under a lot of pressure right now. We expect to be working a lot of extra hours, and bringing in as much help as we can. But there's a lot of pressure to have three buildings in as much disorder as we have right now and have them all back together by August 19th."

The project is just one of several going on in the school system. About $5 million dollars is being spent district wide.

"This is going to improve our indoor air quality, this is going to aid in our teaching environment, so our students are going to benefit," said Byard.

"Everybody had a chance to come and discuss what they thought were the real needs of our district. So it's really a community effort. So everybody is tremendously supportive, and again, we're all very anxious to see the final product," said Dr. Castleberry.

The average utility bill for the Jonesboro High School runs about $15,000 dollars a month. But with the new geothermal heating and cooling system, the school expects to cut that down by 25 percent.

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