Let the inconveniences begin
Parker High School students may have to get up a little earlier for the next couple of years.
Craig High students will endure awkward lunchtime seating.
High school student drivers and staff on both sides of town will have new places to park.
Those are some of the immediate effects of the $70.8 million high school expansion and renovation projects that are starting.
Preliminary work already has begun. More intense work is expected to begin around Nov. 1.
An expanded parking lot is ready at Craig. Parker’s new student lot is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving.
Temporary gravel parking lots for construction workers will be built soon at both sites, officials said.
When construction reaches its peak next spring and summer, 100 or more workers will be on the job at each school.
Workers cut trees and carved a new driveway to the east side of Parker last week. That will help when the circular drive in front of the school is closed sometime in the first week of November.
Parker’s circular drive and main entrance will be closed for more than a year as workers prepare for a major addition that will attach to most of the front of the school.
Workers are scheduled to board off most of the Craig cafeteria and Tech Center East today and Tuesday. Also this week, they’ll fence off the rear, cafeteria-side of the school in preparation for demolition. The site eventually will become a new kitchen and cafeteria and family and consumer education classrooms on the ground floor and a classroom addition above it.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the immediate changes:
Craig High School
-- With the loss of the cafeteria, students who eat hot lunch will do so in the nearby J Room. Those with cold lunches will eat on folding tables in the lobby in front of the auditorium.
-- About 80 staff members who once parked behind the school will park in the newly expanded south-side lot.
-- Students are asked to avoid the entrance at the north side of the building and to use the school’s main entrance. Construction traffic is expected to tie up the north side for much of the construction period.
-- Phy ed classes will lose a corner of the fields to the north of the north parking lot, near the girls softball diamond, to provide parking for workers. The sand volleyball pits will be lost for a time.
-- Sports teams will have to exit the building to the south before heading down to the bowl.
-- Once deliveries of concrete begin, Craig will have daily announcements warning students to avoid the north side of the building. Workers will try to time deliveries to avoid the morning rush.
Craig staff members plan to be outside on Monday morning, Oct. 29, to remind students. Principal Mike Kuehne said he expects some to forget the changes after a four-day break for the annual teachers convention.
Parker High School
-- The circle drive will be closed sometime in the first week of November. After that, the main entrance and other doors on the north side will not be accessible.
-- Students who drive or are dropped off will enter at the west-side doors. Those walking from the east may enter at the east-side doors.
-- Visitors are asked to use the west-side lot, where spaces will be set aside for them.
-- The new entrance for the handicapped will be a door on the north side of the school that enters the performing arts wing. Access will be from the west-side (student) lot, where handicapped stalls will be moved to the north for convenience.
-- Buses will use the new, temporary east-side drive and drop off students at the rear of the building. Parents are asked not to drop off students on the east side.
Officials have no plans to change the Parker bell schedule to accommodate the changes.
“You have to plan on more time (to get to class),” Parker Principal Dale Carlson stressed.
Carlson said school officials were scheduled to stand outside this morning to pass out reminders of the changes. A mailing to parents is expected to arrive in mailboxes by Tuesday. Parker’s Web site also will provide updates.
Just a few of the difficulties expected as the 22-month high school projects progress:
-- Craig’s kitchen is slated to operate until the new one is built. The challenge will be to arrange for food deliveries through the construction fence on the rear, east side, Principal Mike Kuehne said.
-- Come March 2008, Parker will close off the west/commons doors for construction of a new commons and gymnasiums. The north-side entrances will remain closed. Students and staff will be limited to the one door to the performing-arts wing and the east-side doors.
-- Parker’s old kitchen will close for good next June. The new kitchen won’t be ready until sometime in October or November, according to tentative plans. The district is working on alternatives for providing lunch. No details available yet.
-- Workers at Craig plan a “blitz” from May 2008 and into the fall to renovate the antiquated heating and ventilation system in time for cool weather.
-- Traffic on Mineral Point Avenue is busy at the beginning and end of the school day now, but it will get worse with trucks and workers’ private vehicles coming and going.
The Janesville Gazette will publish periodic updates provided by Janesville’s high schools throughout the construction period. Work is expected to be completed in time for the beginning of school in September 2009.