Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Lakota expanding 5-year-old schools

Two new buildings also go up as district tries to keep pace

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — A pile of used ceiling tiles is stacked neatly in the cafeteria at Lakota East High School, awaiting reinstallation. Air ducts encircle the room, and plywood blocks the usual entrance from the Main Street hallway, designating it a hard hat zone.

[photo] Home economics classrooms will be new this year. Charles Stewart works with Turner Construction.
(Michael Snyder photos)
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        Above, crews are getting ready to put up walls and ceiling tile to create two computer labs above the cafeteria in what had been just a very high ceiling before trusses were added and a concrete floor poured.

        “The ceiling will look 4 feet shorter, but it gave them two new labs,” said Charles Stewart, who is overseeing work at the two high schools.

        Workers are nearing the end of an expansion and renovation project that began 13 months ago at both Lakota East and West high schools, one of four construction projects in the district.

        Other crews are a few months into a construction project on an 85-acre site, on the northwest corner of Lesourdsville-West Chester and Princeton roads. It will add an elementary and junior school in 2003 to accommodate a

        student population that has increased 52 percent in 10 years.

[photo] Vertical space is being used in the Lakota East cafeteria to carve out classrooms.
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        “We've done a lot of work in a short time,” said Tom Welch, construction manager for Turner Construction. “We're one week ahead of schedule.”

        The elementary and junior schools together are $1.7 million under budget, and the two high schools are $3,000 to $4,000 above budget, Mr. Welch said. All are progressing ahead of schedule. Voters two years ago approved a levy that gave this rapidly growing district money to operate on, to build two schools and to make improvements in older buildings.

        When work is completed, the 5-year-old high schools each will be 11,000 square feet larger.

        Home economics classrooms were relocated to the new wing so that the space could be converted to a weight room.

        The former weight room is being expanded to become a wrestling room. Two science rooms were constructed in the new wing, along with a music practice room and a storage room for the music department.

        The kitchen and storage areas were expanded. The student eating area in the cafeteria was also expanded.


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