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Under construction: Renovations in full swing at several Oldham schools

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By Tracy Harris

While students and teachers are enjoying summer break, construction crews are battling the heat to finish projects at several Oldham County schools before August.

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At least nine schools are getting renovations this summer, from a complete renovation at Centerfield Elementary to smaller tasks like new bleachers, door hardware and lighting at other schools.

The renovation at Centerfield Elementary will finalize work that has been done there over the past two summers. 

Principal Diane Morgan said she is excited to have the renovations complete and to have “nice, functional surroundings.”

The school is currently stripped down, with ceiling and floor tiles both being removed.

When classes resume in August, Centerfield Elementary will have a new heating and cooling system, lights, ceilings, floors and furniture. The gym will get a makeover with new bleachers and a new floor, according to Jim Ewalt said.

Crews are also building a two-story storage facility, which will house the new HVAC system equipment and provide some kitchen storage.

Another small addition will add office space, Ewalt said.

Morgan said the changes will bring Centerfield Elementary “up to par” with other schools in the district.

“It will give our kids the same opportunities to have a modern learning environment like the new schools,” she said.

She also hopes the renovations will encourage more families to move into the area and more teachers to opt for jobs there.

“It’s a really exciting time for Centerfield,” she said.

The school will also gain a much-needed expanded parking lot, going from 59 parking spaces to 131.

At the Arvin Center, students in the junior guard and EMT program will start the school year with two new classrooms formerly used for carpentry. Those rooms are also receiving new HVAC systems.

Crews are also adding a restroom to the adult transition program, also housed in the Arvin Center.

Ewalt said Oldham County Middle School is the third major project for the district this summer.

Since the district can only complete large-scale projects during the summer months, renovations are often split into phases.

OCMS is in what Ewalt calls “phase one” of a major renovation — similar to where Centerfield Elementary was three years ago.

This summer, crews will be removing floor tiles for asbestos abatement. Ewalt said after this summer, seven facilities remain with asbestos-containing materials.

OCMS restrooms will also be renovated this summer, as will the gym’s floor and bleachers.

Ewalt said the district will continue with more renovations at OCMS next summer.

At the South Oldham campus, parking lots and access roads will be repaved and new outdoor lighting installed.

Also on the campus, South Oldham Middle will have a refinished gym floor and new
bleachers. 

Camden Station Elementary is getting an update with new door hardware to match other security systems in the district.

At South Oldham High, 15 classrooms will be updated with rubber tile flooring to replace carpet, Ewalt said.

La Grange Elementary, one of the district’s oldest schools, will become more energy efficient — and more comfortable — once a new boiler and water heater are installed, Ewalt said.

Crews will also install emergency generators at La Grange Elementary and the Arvin Center. That will leave only OCMS, SOMS and one building at Oldham County High School without generators.

Ewalt said the generators only power certain systems at the schools, like cafeteria refrigerators and freezers, fire alarms and telephones. 

Generators provide enough power to allow some functionality during severe weather — and protect food, preventing major losses like the district experienced due to outages during an ice storm in early 2009, he said.

OCMS and SOMS will have generators installed when major renovations are completed at those locations in the next few years. Ewalt said crews completed several small projects in the spring and have at least two more small ones to wrap up this summer.

Warm, dry weather has helped get construction off to a good start, he said. And an early release date and slightly later start date should give crews plenty of time, Ewalt said.