GREENFIELD — Locker rooms have become storage closets, housing all manner of items at Greenfield Intermediate School. They haven’t seen student athletes in years.
It’s just one area administrators point to when talking about the need for upgrades.
Officials at Greenfield-Central School Corp. plan to invest about $2 million in renovations in coming months, and the majority of the construction work will focus on Greenfield Intermediate School, where contractors will relocate the main office and restructure the building to make better use of underutilized space, said Superintendent Harold Olin.
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The 56-year-old building served as a middle school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students until 2010, when the district converted it into an intermediate school.
Since then, portions of the building that housed athletic facilities for middle school sports have gone mostly unused by their younger counterparts, and educators have had to create some classroom space for the school’s about 500 students in the least expected places.
For example, a keyboard class is held on the school’s stage.
When Greenfield-Central schools changed to a four-tier system, establishing two intermediate schools for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders and building a junior high for seventh- and eighth-graders, the district converted the former Greenfield Middle School to serve elementary-aged students.
Renovations then focused on making the building more energy-efficient, while leaving some areas of the building untouched.
Since then, the school has done its best to use the space it has while adjusting to the needs of younger students than the building previously housed, said Principal Jim Bever.
Some portions of the building aren’t used on a daily basis. Renovating the building will allow educators to use those spaces, he said.
The majority of the work will focus on two areas of the building: the south side of the school, where the front office is located now, and the north side of the structure, where a gymnasium and two locker rooms are currently located.
Contractors will build a new administrator suite in the north end, a move Bever said makes sense because that’s where the school’s largest parking lot is located and parents pick up their children.
They’ll convert the current front office into a special education suite, equipped with restrooms and changing areas for students who need them. Right now, special education classes are held in standard classrooms that don’t have restrooms.
Taking those students, especially those in wheelchairs or with other physical disabilities, to a restroom down the hall isn’t convenient, said teacher Krista Halter.
Having restrooms in the classroom will save time and be easier for teachers and students alike, she said.
The suite would also have its own kitchen, Halter said, which would enable the school to expand its life skills lessons.
“It will give our kids a lot more opportunities and be a better learning environment,” she said.
Early design work for the project is complete, Bever said. Final design work, a schedule for the project and cost estimates are expected to be ready in early spring.
The majority of the work will likely be completed during June and July, when school is out for summer, but work could begin sooner and last longer, Olin said. Because most of the renovations are planned in places not regularly used by students, construction won’t disrupt the school day, he said.
The renovations won’t touch every aspect of the building that needs a little TLC, Olin said, but it’s a start.
And it has been a long time coming, Bever said.
“We’re taking care of this building, and we’ve used it hard,” he said. “This will go a long way in making it better.”