Jefferson-Morgan completes $6 million in renovations
JEFFERSON - Three years and $6 million later, Jefferson-Morgan School District has completed its renovations at the high school.The district began the project with hopes of getting a new roof on the building, a new heating system and air conditioning - but it ended up with much more than that, according to high school principal Joseph Orr.“We got great contracts, and we were able to do a lot of extra things without adding money to that budget,” Orr said. “I’ve never seen such a bang for our buck like we got out of this.“The district business manager, Jennifer Foringer, and substitute superintendent Craig Baily said the district had taken out $5.8 million in bonds, but some of the bids for the project came in lower than expected, saving them a couple hundred thousand dollars.They said the district also, over multiple years, set aside $681,000 for the project.“Things went smoothly,” Baily said. “The goals were set, and to this point the goals were completed.“Some of the additional projects they were able to do with the extra budgeted money include putting in new windows, which hadn’t been replaced since the building was built in the 1950s, Orr said. The district also paved the parking lots, renovated and expanded the lobby restrooms, painted the common areas and lockers, installed phones in all of the classrooms and updated the security and fire alarm systems.“It was a solid building, but it was tired,” Orr said. “Usually you hear about a project that runs over budget or has problems - we didn’t have that.“Orr said the best part about the renovations was seeing the students’ faces when they began the school year in August, when much of the painting and construction was finished.“The kids were telling teachers that it feels like a new place,” Orr said. “They aren’t going to mess it up, and you won’t find graffiti on the walls or anything like that. They want to be in a good school and take care of it.“New flooring and theater seats in the school’s auditorium were the last of the renovations.“It’s finally a place we’re very proud of,” Orr said about the auditorium. “It’s brought a lot of people together.“Since its completion in November, the high school has held two events in the auditorium, and there is another big show coming up. Banachek, a mentalist and mind reader, will perform there at 4 p.m. Jan. 22.