we are currently 44 days ahead of schedule and we are at the 29% mark on completion!
This blog is presented to share the process and progress of the new Watauga High School. It is moderated by Shelton Wilder. All postings are made public according to the educational and informational intent of the moderator.
we are currently 44 days ahead of schedule and we are at the 29% mark on completion!
A little history on one of the successful sidebar stories of our new school project is the Webcam we now have up and running on our campus. (See the link in the sidebar to the right of this post to access the webcam view.)
The idea to put a webcam on the site so anyone at anytime could check in on the progress of our construction began in February of 2008. (The same month this blog was begun and our project went out to bid).
This initiative originated within the Core team discussions. After arranging funding from various sources, researching the best design solution and equipment, and finding the knowledgeable experts in the field to help us this collaboration has come together.
With the expert assistance provided by Brian W. Raichle, of ASU's Appropriate Technology program and his students the equipment was assembled and hand installed on site.
In this photo the ASU students are bringing the photovoltaic panels onto the site.
James Story from the Watauga County Schools maintenance staff assisted us in the lift bucket. His practical, problem solving approach to the mechanical and electrical installation was tremendously helpful.
Here James is attaching the framing support for the solar panels.
ASU students and teacher discuss the installation process.
An observant reader from the last post (October 2) noticed that out one of the windows it appeared there were players on the stadium field and wondered if we were already practicing on the new field! ;-)
Yes indeed, there was a group playing on the field. These players are construction workers. I believe this was the plumbing crew and the masonry crew. This was taken after hours at the end of the day after a full day on the job.
Our construction manager, Mike Kesterson, explained that on a project this size with hundreds of workers the construction crews actually become a small community. He was asked if the crews could play ball on the field at the end of the day. On one evening a week they get together and enjoy the competition and exercise on our field.
As Mike said, it is important to provide opportunity for all of the construction community to "own" their product. When the workers feel respected and encouraged to work together as a team a sense of pride in the work and a sense of ownership in the product is created. This diverse and complex organization of individuals have come together to create our school.
It is for their future as well as ours that we build our new school and campus.
Here are two rooms with great views. This first room is on the south side of area 1. The room is on the third floor. It will over look the stadium.
The auxiliary field is just below the edge of the flat graded stadium field at the bottom of this photo and the Greenway trail is beyond and below that field.
The next room which is shown below is on the same floor on the other side of the hall on the north side of that wing. Before you scroll down, try to anticipate the view you have. Above looking south, below turns and looks north. Can you guess?
Lets walk over to the window and take a closer look.
Yep, that is Howard's Knob and Rich Mountain behind that. Can you tell what the building is in the very center of the picture?
How about now?
Yep, that is Hardin Park school and play ground with Boone Methodist Church visible behind the school.
Our rooms are beginning to be framed in. All the studs are steel.
They are about the size of a standard 2 X 4, but all steel with lock plate and screwed supports. This is a very sturdy construction method and will not rot, warp, or dry out like wood.
Fire alarm feeds are in place and sprinkler lines are being pulled to the rooms.
HVAC ducts are in place and the system design is revealed in area 3.
All line feeds are single wire and flow through conduits.
The artistry of this section of conduit bends is only out weighed by the difficulty of creating this precision section. Amazing.
On behalf of the Watauga Board of Education, we would like to express our appreciation to all who have assisted us in our studies, planning, and financing the dream and now the reality of a new Watauga High School.
We have said for years that we need to invest wisely in the future of our children. This new facility is a good example of a wise investment.
Watauga County Schools have top performing and achieving students and very competent and effective employees. With this new, updated and modern educational facility, we know that we can and will improve our student performances; as well to better prepare them to enter into the global world of today and in the future.
The construction of a new Watauga High School was not the work of any one individual, board member, or community; nor did the planning, design, financing, and construction of the facility take place overnight.
For several years after the construction of the WHS in 1965, many discussions and considerations were made regarding the facility providing the necessary resources students need to successfully and adequately complete their secondary education requirements.
From 2001 to 2003 the board of education discussed the options and possibilities of a second high school in numerous work sessions and meetings. Local funding did not allow us to pursue this option. In 2003 the BOE developed a “Five Point Plan” that would have addressed the following: construction of a second high school, construction of two new high schools, extensive expansion and renovation of the current facility, removal of the ninth grade to a separate facility or development of an off-campus program serving a significant number students.
On April 4, 2003 the “Five Point Plan” was greatly discussed at the Watauga Education Summit sponsored by Watauga County Schools and Boone Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the forum was to bring together educators, public officials, business leaders, parents, staff, students and taxpayers to have dialogue on critical issues and trends facing our school system in the 21st century. Dr. Richard Jones, who was then our school superintendent and many others, shared their vision and concerns toward all aspects of education. The Summit’s theme was “It’s Time to Choose”- a reference to the ongoing debate relative to one high school, two schools, or some other school organizational plan. In my opinion, this meeting was important, if not the most important, to involve the entire county in the theme “It’s Time to Choose”.
In July of 2003 we welcomed Dr. Bobbi Short as our new school superintendent. Dr. Short was in total agreement that some solution to our facility needs should be addressed. Dr. Short soon recommended that we do a professional feasibility study. The study results conducted at each of our school districts clearly showed a need for a new high school at a new site. The Board of Education agreed and in 2004 we began the site selections and plans for a new high school.
In 2005, a sub-committee was formed by the Watauga County Board of Education and the Watauga County Board of Commissioners. Membership of this committee was two board members from each board, school superintendent, and the county manager. Our purpose was to share our concerns and issues with better communication and understanding of the county school system by both boards. Planning, design, and financing of the new WHS have been the top priority of this committee from 2005 to present.
In 2006 after years of discussion and feasibility studies, the Watauga Board of Education and the Watauga Board of Commissioners concluded that the best option for our students, employees, and the taxpayers of Watauga County was to build a new high school at a new site. The decision was based on the cost of renovations projected by professional consultants to be $35,000,000.00 and the sale of the current WHS to help reduce the cost of a new state of the art high school was the most logical option.
The dedicated assistance by so many, including those I have mentioned earlier, as well as the key communicators, WHS planning committee members, WHS core committee members, our current school superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric, project manager Don Critcher, and so many others too numerous to name in this article have brought us to where we are today.
In conclusion, the Watauga Board of Education would like to say an enormous thank you to all that have assisted us in this project, especially the taxpayers of Watauga County. The children of our county will certainly reap the rewards of educational success by the wise investment ALL have made.