Board approves Saltillo High expansion

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com Students eat lunch in the Saltillo High School cafeteria on Wednesday. The school's commons area soon will be expanded as part of a nearly $3 million project approved by the School Board on Tuesday. The work is funded by July's $13.5 million bond approval.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Students eat lunch in the Saltillo High School cafeteria on Wednesday. The school’s commons area soon will be expanded as part of a nearly $3 million project approved by the School Board on Tuesday. The work is funded by July’s $13.5 million bond approval.

By Chris Kieffer

Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Saltillo High students eventually will have more classrooms and a larger dining area.

The Lee County School Board approved on Tuesday a nearly $3 million expansion at the 950-student school. It includes 12 new classrooms, an extra dining hall and a more secure entrance.

Also approved during Tuesday’s meeting was the renovation of hallways and restrooms at Saltillo Elementary, Shannon Elementary and Verona Elementary. Those projects all are funded by July’s $13.5 million bond approval.

All the work will begin at the end of the current school year. The renovation projects are expected to be completed before students return in August, while the Saltillo High project should be done in December 2015.

“With the bond issue, we are trying to meet as much of the need as we can on the campuses,” said Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks. “We are pleased with the bids and the way the process has gone so far. Although we are not addressing all of the needs on every campus, we are addressing the majority of the needs on the campuses.”

New classrooms at Saltillo High will be added to the left side of the school, in front of the football field. It will be a two-story addition with six classrooms on each floor.

The dining hall will be built next to the existing commons area with a short hallway connecting the two. It will be able to seat about 280 students, nearly doubling the current capacity of about 340 pupils. New serving lines also will be added.

When visitors enter the school, they no longer will walk directly into the commons area. Instead, they will be greeted by a school employee inside a small entryway. There they will sign in before being buzzed into the school.

Burton Builders will do the work at a cost of $2,987,000.

Meanwhile, Century Construction won the bid to renovate the restrooms and hallways at the three elementary schools. It will cost $1,439,600.

The school board has now approved six of the nine projects to be funded by bond money, totaling $7,025,600. Weeks said they remain close to budget.

“We are running right at where we need to be,” Weeks said. “Some projects have come in a little under and some a hair over, so it has evened out, but there is not a whole lot of wiggle room on the budget.”

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com