Opelika High work on new classrooms, Main Street near completion

Construction on new classroom facilities at Opelika High School is nearing completion, and the hallway known as Main Street will, after some alteration, continue to serve as a campus artery.

The new phase, which began construction in May, will be completed in July, according to David Allen, senior superintendent at Robins & Morton, the developers of the project.

Life at Opelika High School has revolved around Main Street, a large hallway running the length of the school. Allen said when the school year ends and the teachers have moved into the new phase, the wall dividing Main Street from the new construction will be torn down, creating a corridor tying the two wings together.

The new construction allows Main Street to continue around a staircase at the start of the new phase, and will continue up the staircase to what will be called Upper Main Street, according to Josh Farr, field engineer from Robins & Morton.

“We wanted to make sure that we maintained having Main Street in the new part because that’s just part of Opelika High School,” said Becky Brown, public relations coordinator for Opelika City Schools. “This will be the new end of Main Street, but the fact that it continues on two levels maintains the look but redesigned a little bit.”

The new addition includes six larger science labs, two art rooms, a large consumer science classroom facility, a state-of-the-art cafeteria and a facility for special needs students.

The upper floor ends with a computer lab that overlooks the baseball field and a view of the new bus stop.

“The bus entrance will be in the back of the school instead of the front of the school, and that will help with traffic flow,” Brown said.

Main Street also features health science rooms and the consumer science room.

“This consumer science room is kind of like Home Ec,” Farr said. “On either side of the middle walls will be stovetops, sinks, a washer and dryer, all in one big room.”

One of the biggest additions in the new phase is the cafeteria, which includes a serving area, prep area and places for three registers, according to Kevin Graffeo, project engineer.

“This is where the tables and chairs will be permanently set up,” Brown said. “And the cafeteria comes right off Main Street.”

Another convenience to the new Main Street is the addition of two new classrooms for special-needs students. Allen said between the classrooms are shelters, which feature reinforced walls, so those students have a place to go in an emergency.

Brown said features people often take for granted are accounted for in the new phase, such as bigger windows and more bathrooms and storage space. Aesthetically, the new phase will include occasional accent walls in Bulldog red, stained concrete floors and carpeting in many classrooms.

“There’s a big difference here now,” said Kenny Prescott, OHS baseball coach. “It’s been a long time coming. I went to school here, and it was state of the art then.”

When the current construction phase is complete, work will start on renovations to the existing school. The entire project, including improvements to the stadium and athletic facilities, cost approximately $40 million.

Officials broke ground in May, and the project will officially be completed in August 2014.

This story is courtesy of oanow.com