“Knowing what it looked like back behind the [PHS] cafeteria five years ago to where it is today, we’re very proud that we’ve addressed so many issues and fixed so many things that need to be fixed,” Hartgrove said.
The project included an addition that gives the school eight new classrooms, a pulp and paper lab to allow students access to those learning opportunities after Haywood Community College closed theirs and a redirection of traffic to the back of the building.
“It was an addition with a site plan enhancement, is basically what it is,” Hartgrove said.
The classrooms will go to teachers who have thus far had to wheel their classroom around in a cart, teaching classes in other teachers’ rooms while those teachers were on their planning period. And by moving bus parking behind the building, Hartgrove said, the campus will soon become more secure.
“Within a couple of weeks we’re hoping that there’s only one point of entrance into the campus that people can come into during the day, and one direction of flow,” he said.
The project, which broke ground in December 2013 and is just now finishing up, was funded with state lottery money. Hartgrove came to Haywood County Commissioners Oct. 6 to ask for $57,000 in increased spending out of the contingency funding the lottery allocated for the project, an amount that would still leave $88,000 in the fund. The $57,000 money will mainly go toward putting in some extra walkways and asphalt.
“One thing I’ve learned since I’ve been in the school system is that people are going to take the straightest line, so we went in and added some sidewalks instead of having to do it later,” Hartgrove told commissioners.
The board expressed approval for Hargrove’s proactive planning.
“I was talking to the architect and he said you’ve had very few change orders and things seem to be going very smooth,” Commissioner Kevin Ensley told Hartgrove.
Hartgrove said that the building was constructed with few “bells and whistles” but was designed to make maintenance as easy and inexpensive as possible going forward. For example, the bathroom plumbing was installed in such a way that no walls would have to be knocked out to fix problems with it, and the heat pumps are at ground level and easily accessible.
“We’re pretty happy with it,” Hartgrove told commissioners. “If everybody could have seen this three years ago and then seen it now.”