Arlington High School will soon receive an expansion and renovation that will bring in additional classrooms, a new tech workshop and a construction workshop for theater sets.
The Arlington School District board of directors awarded the contract for the project on March 22.
The project is funded by the capital projects levy that was approved by Arlington voters in February 2020.
“There are multiple improvements being funded by the levy,” said Brian Lewis, executive director of operations with the Arlington School District.
The biggest is the addition of eight classrooms, a tech workshop and a theater set construction facility for the school’s drama department.
That construction is expected to begin in April and finish in December. It is scheduled to be ready for students by January 2022.
Eight additional classrooms will be a part of the expansion.
“This is in response to the growing student population,” said Lewis.
Right now Arlington High School is simply out of classroom space.
“Some of the commons-type areas have had to be used as classrooms, such as the library,” he said.
The high school was originally designed and built with the potential for a future expansion, so a lot of the utility work is already done and ready for a classroom expansion.
“We’re also enhancing some of the programs that we have now,” said Lewis. “We’re out of space for tech work, so we’re building a pretty sizable workshop. It will be more analogous to what we find in the high-tech manufacturing jobs."
The workshop is designed for manufacturing machines and classroom space for manufacturing training.
“The class will have accessibility from the street side,” so that metal sheets and other material will not have to be maneuvered through the school.
The school’s drama department will receive a facility for set construction as well.
“For the construction of the sets, there has been no space for that,” said Lewis. Previously, students have used a temporary metal building that came from a community member donation.
“The students were limited in what they could do with it,” said Lewis, as there were security issues and no electricity or plumbing in the building.
“Electricity is really important when you’re doing things like painting and have to clean it up,” said Lewis.
Renovations are also scheduled to improve the school, although those are currently being scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2022.
The front of the school will receive security upgrades.
“There will be a secured entryway in the front of the building,” so that visitors will have to go through the office, said Lewis. “We have some ability to control the entrance right now,” with a call box, said Lewis, “but that is not as friendly to the community though.”
The district also hopes to build a new home for the JROTC program with a couple of classrooms in the school.
They hope to create a new science lab in the school as well.
During the levy process early last year, the school district had budgeted $7.933 million for the project.
The final bid for the project came in at $7.089 million.
“It came in below what we had estimated during the levy, so we have some additional funds we can use for some more improvements,” said Lewis.
He said the building is 17 years old and the painting and sealant are beginning to degrade. The district plans to add a new coat of paint as well as an anti-graffiti product that will make spray paint easier to remove without damaging the building in the future.
“We appreciate the support of the community,” and the passing of the levy which made the additions and upgrades possible, said Lewis.