Piece by piece, the nearly 56-year-old Columbus North High School building is being reshaped and updated.
The cafeteria features new serving lines and a two-story wall of clear and blue geometric glass panels.
The band and choir rooms have been enlarged in a spacious music wing.
A new main entrance has been designed on the north side of the building.
And yet to come this summer, a new media center will join the main entrance near the front of the school.
Columbus North students already have started to reap the benefits of a near-complete $50 million renovation, which is part of a larger, $89 million plan for renovations at both East and North high schools.
But this year North students should see the end of construction. No more shifting classrooms, no more feeling lost in their own school.
The renovations at North are about 98 percent finished, said John Quick, superintendent of Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.
Like their crosstown counterparts at East, North students have lived with construction for the past three years.
John Green, assistant principal at North, said work at the school is in its “final push.”
“Our goal is by October we’ll be all done,” Green said.
Most of the work this summer focused on interior renovations, such as updating the classrooms with new lighting and paint.
In some ways, overhauling North proved more difficult because of the building’s age and the limited space surrounding it.
The projects were broken into phases. Crews would section off one phase and work on it. Once complete, they would move on to the next one.
“North was a lot more complex in having to stage different areas,” Quick said.
Steve Forster, the school corporation’s director of operations, compared the progress to standing dominoes falling. The projects got knocked out, one after another.
Teachers and students conducted class while construction crews worked nearby.
“There’s been a lot of collaboration and coordination,” Forster said. “Folks have worked well together.’
The remaining projects include renovating the media center and the world language wing.
The media center has been moved to the front area of the school near the new entrance. Green said he expects that project to be wrapped up within the first couple of weeks of school.
Forster said work on the language wing is waiting to be scheduled.
“The reason we do this is for the students,” he said.
By the numbers
Renovations of Columbus North and East high schools, with modifications, have an expected total cost of $89.1 million, of which $84.3 million has been paid.
Builders’ risk insurance
Owner’s rep salaries/benefits
Owner’s other expenses
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. bond
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