G-C renovations could begin in November

The new weight room/training center will be a visible change on the exterior of Greenfield-Central High School. The new space will be built on Cougar Fieldhouse on the north side of the building. Drawing submitted

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GREENFIELD — Starting with Greenfield-Central High School’s fall sports season next school year, athletes and spectators will be able to enter through an updated Cougar Fieldhouse, boasting school colors and spirit.

The building addition is one of several renovation projects set for Greenfield-Central schools. The district plans to spend about $13 million to upgrade portions of each of its eight school buildings, from November until winter 2020, through a general obligation bond that won’t raise taxes.

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Improvements range from safety and mechanical upgrades to renovations of Greenfield-Central High School and Greenfield Central Junior High School. The scope and price of the project has risen over the past few months, from an estimated $10.8 million to $13 million, Superintendent Harold Olin said. The Greenfield-Central School Board has already approved a bond at no more than $15 million.

Jerry Rolfson, director of architecture for Performance Services — the Indianapolis firm in charge of design — recently presented a report on the project’s progress at a school board meeting.

The school board on Oct. 21 gave Olin the ability to sign a notice to proceed on the project once Performance Services signs a final contract. Once that’s complete, construction will begin. Rolfson said crews should start work on the fieldhouse addition and the high school’s greenhouse in November.

Most of the construction — close to $4.5 million — will occur at the high school.

With performing arts programs on the rise, the corporation plans to expand building space for high school music classes, Principal Jason Cary said. Those rooms will take over the existing training room and weight room, meaning a new athletic area will be built onto the fieldhouse.

The high school’s greenhouse will also get updated, and there will be a new access road for buses between Franklin Street and a small south parking lot next to the greenhouse.

“It’s not just an athletic bond; it’s not just an academic bond; it’s not just an extracurricular bond,” Cary said. “It’s going to touch so many different groups of kids and do so many wonderful things for them.”

Jared Manning, G-C athletic director, said the new training room, weight room and locker rooms will help the athletic program and strength and conditioning classes to grow. The new area will nearly double the space in the current weight and training room, Manning said, adding that coaches and weight and training instructors will have more room for additional programming and new equipment.

“It will give them the flexibility to use it and have things at their fingertips that’s going to make (student-athletes) bigger, faster and stronger,” Manning said. “It’s great for us.”

The entrance to Cougar Fieldhouse is seen by many visitors and athletes who attend games on campus, Manning said. Once it’s built, they can walk through the doorway and either turn left toward the locker rooms, turn right toward the weight room and training room or head straight into the fieldhouse. The fieldhouse addition will have large windows, a G-C logo and potentially banners of student-athletes.

“We hope that it’s a welcoming side of our building and that it’s going to draw attention to what’s going on here,” Manning said.

Cary said giving athletics a larger area will provide the performing arts program with its own corridor at the high school. The district’s music program has grown over the past few years, Olin said. It added a strings program, three jazz band classes, music theory courses and split up parts of the concert band. Twelve different high school music classes now meet each day of the week over eight daily blocks.

That’s created a “headache” for performing arts, Cary said. Sometimes, music classes have to meet in the auditorium or gymnasium.

“If we have a play going on or certain events going on throughout the year, we just don’t have enough space for everybody during the day,” Cary said.

The new performing arts space — encompassing the former athletic area — will include a large ensemble room, storage for string instruments, practice rooms, offices and other rooms, Cary said.

A new greenhouse set to be built behind the high school is replacing a “worn out” structure that’s over 25 years old, said Scott Jacobs, G-C agriculture teacher. The new A-frame greenhouse will be built on a concrete slab with polycarbonate sides, which offers more durability and longevity than the plastic walls of the current building. Jacobs said they have to replace the plastic every four to five years.

Jacobs said the greenhouse will have heating and cooling controls and automated watering. Not only will it have more long-term use, Jacobs said, but the ag classes can expand their programming and use newer technology. Students will learn how to manipulate environmental factors through electronics and also add to the 10,000 to 15,000 bedding plants they tend to each year with a larger greenhouse.

“We’re hoping it will provide more hands-on opportunities for the students,” Jacobs said. “This will be a more modern, up-to-date system that reflects what goes on in the industry.”

The project will also address a new secure entryway at Weston Elementary School; an auxiliary gym and parking lot at the junior high; and upgrade several chillers, pumps, restrooms and roofs at multiple G-C buildings.

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High school locker/weight room addition — Nov. 1, 2019-July 31, 2020

High school greenhouse — Nov. 1, 2019– March 1, 2020

High school performing arts renovations — Aug. 1, 2020-Dec. 31, 2020

Junior high school gym addition — Nov. 1, 2019–Oct. 15, 2020

Junior high school parking –Spring/Summer 2020

J.B. Stevens Elementary/Maxwell Intermediate re-roofing — Summer 2020

Weston Elementary restrooms/secure entry — Summer 2020

Greenfield Intermediate restrooms — Summer 2020

Harris Elementary kindergarten room/restrooms — Summer 2020 (Work on kindergarten area might begin early.)

Chiller replacements — Winter 2019/2020

Source: Performance Services Inc.

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Southern Hancock schools is about to embark on a renovation of New Palestine High School that will be the first major upgrades at the school in decades. Work is expected to begin in a matter of weeks on the upgrades, which are estimated to cost about $49 million, the district said this week. Next week, the Daily Reporter will look at the project’s scope and timeline in an in-depth report.