Renovations at Sheridan High School will do more than just provide a secure entrance to the building, says SHS Principal Dirlene Wheeler.
The project also provides more space, including a new conference room and bathrooms for school staff, and upgrades the school's computer, phone and fire alarm systems.
Wheeler said the staff “desperately” needed a new conference room.
The computer upgrades are also welcome. Sheridan High School was built in 1987. “That was just before computers were coming on board (as tools for school staff and in classrooms),” Wheeler said.
Construction of the new secure entrance and office renovations is expected to be finished at the end of October, completing the first step of a two-phase project that started June 10.
In an interview at the school Thursday morning, Wheeler provided an overview of the project, and talked about what it will mean to students and staff at Sheridan High School.
Julie Carroll, facilities director for Sheridan County School District 2, said cost of the first phase of the project is $2.2 million. Second phase of the project will cost just under $1.1 million and will begin next summer. Carroll said that phase will complete renovations of the school commons and office area
Carroll explained how the project is funded.
Completion of the school's entry area, currently awaiting arrival of doors and windows, will create a new hallway for use after classes begin at 8:20 each morning.
Carroll said students and staff arriving earlier in the mornings will use the high school's main entry into the commons area. But after 8:20, the only access will be through a new doorway into a hall that accesses administrative offices. Anyone wanting to go into the commons and classroom area must enter by way of a secondary door that will take them past the school resource officer.
O'Dell Construction of Sheridan is contractor for the project.
Carroll said the goal in the project has been to minimize inconvenience to SHS staff and students. But, she noted, while construction has been happening, Wheeler and others of her staff have been crowded into a smaller space than they're accustomed to.
“It will be nice once we get these guys (the staff) into their permanent home,” Carroll added.