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Drought good for school construction
By Jesef Williams
INDIAN LAND – While farmers, landscapers and probably most others wish for rain, the lack of precipitation has been great for crews working on a school conversion project in Indian Land.
The building that once housed Indian Land High School is being renovated and turned into the new Indian Land Middle School.
Dry weather has helped the project remain on schedule for the school to open in January, when students return for the beginning of the semester.
Renovations began over the summer. The project is now about 60 to 70 percent complete, said Jamie Spears, who is overseeing the project for Lancaster County School District.
The school used to consist of three separate buildings – an administrative area, gymnasium and vocational wing. But now, a six-classroom wing has been built that connects the gym and the administrative areas. There's also now a hallway that links the other buildings. The vocational wing is being turned into space for 12 additional classrooms.
The administrative wing – which includes the cafeteria, media center and classrooms – has received a new public address system, fire alarms, security cameras and emergency exit signs.
That side of the building is also getting new paint, flooring, ceiling tiles and new bathroom fixtures.
Crews last week were doing overhead work and installing waterlines in other areas of the building. Most of those tasks are complete, as ceiling grid and tile have already been installed along that renovated vocational wing and new hallway connector.
Paint and flooring are next, and over the next few weeks, classroom equipment and fixtures will be installed.
Crews are also working on the brick work on the exterior to give the school a uniform look.
"A lot of progress has been made over the last two months," Spears said.
A preliminary state inspection of the school is scheduled for Thursday.
Spears said the conversion project should be finished by mid-December, just in time for the final inspection.
Farley Associates Inc. is the general contractor for the renovation project.
Preparing to move
Indian Land Elementary/Middle School Principal David McDonald said his staff is looking forward to the move and are now preparing to deal with the slight changes, such as lunch and class times and overall schedule flow.
He said it will be great for middle school students to have their own building.
The Panhandle's middle and elementary school students are now housed in one building. Middle schoolers will come over to the renovated building, as Indian Land high school students moved into a new building in August.
McDonald said he's looking at what programs and services the school can introduce that will specifically cater to middle-school age children and help foster their own sense of identity.
"I'm thrilled about the progress and where we are," McDonald said. "Our teachers are excited and our students are getting excited. They're beginning to talk about it. I think it's going to be great."
Contact Jesef Williams
at 283-1152 or