Workers from Jackson Construction were working in the courtyard on November 15, testing for plans to convert the courtyard into a covered cafeteria. (Macki Cummings)
Workers from Jackson Construction were working in the courtyard on November 15, testing for plans to convert the courtyard into a covered cafeteria.

Macki Cummings

Hard Hats & Renovations:

Bond Project expected to start as soon as January

November 26, 2018

When Eagles go home for winter break, they just might come back to bulldozers, hard hats and concrete mix. That’s because we’re renovating the school. Now.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about renovations to Big Sky, but not a lot of details have been shared to the student population or the public. Jennifer Courtney, our principal, shared some information about the bond project, which directs our new construction.

Along with mechanical improvements to lights and heating/cooling, a big push is for clean air and light throughout the building. The sky lights in main hall will be replaced with actual windows for natural light.

A full auditorium is guaranteed due to it being in the “bond language”– things that legally have to happen because they are written into the bond.  The new auditorium – where the cafetorium is now — will have 250-300 portable and retractable seats and then space for chairs below. It will be very flexible so the drama department has room to do different shows. The auditorium will also be fully enclosed. Last year, they also got a new light and sound board.

Also, the area where the old coffee cart was will be flexible classrooms and hopefully a black box for drama, which is a completely black room with mirrors and a dance floor.

The auditorium will take over the cafeteria so the courtyard will become our new cafeteria/common area. It will be infilled but that won’t happen until later on due to the fact that steel has to be swung over the building.

The core will begin to be utilized as flexible seating for classrooms, also it will be better organized by departments to make things easier to find and open up space.

Then out of the F, F&E budget which is a budget for furniture and electronics through the school, flexible furniture will be bought to fill that area. With the proximity to the gym, it will be nice for games and events. This will more than likely happen in the summer due to the steel being swung over the school.

Senior, Mariah Swartz says, “I think it’ll be nice to have a better auditorium and hopefully a better cafeteria for students to gather in.”

Another huge part of the project is our front entrance. It will be completely secure. The front office staff will have to buzz people but not all the details for that have been figured out. Hellgate and Sentinel are getting the same secure front entrance so later on that will be figured out with how administration wants to control that.

Typically the whole project would be fully designed and out to bid (voting) but that’s not the case with ours. We are still in the design process due to our project only being seven million dollars.

“I say that like it’s not very much money” says Courtney.

But when it comes to huge bond projects like this, it really isn’t a lot of money compared to what the costs could be.

There was work done last year in the F building and some roof work that was $100,000 so there are a lot of renovations that weren’t initially in the plan that are more mechanical, compared to the major changes.

There is a possibility of lockers being taken out to make room for more windows, however the lockers sit on slabs of concrete, so in order to remove them, those slabs would also have to be taken out. This means that everywhere they were removed the floors would need to be redone, which wasn’t originally planned.

There was mention of a North-South corridor which will run through the classrooms that end in the number “4.” But that was taken off the table due to the budget only being able to cover so much.

The rest of our budget would go to mechanical problems or improvements.

These improvements are planned, but nothing is set in stone just yet.


Additional reporting by Maddie Crandall



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