T he first phase of a two-phase construction project that will result in the complete renovation of theWhitehall Jr.Sr.High Schoolauditorium began earlier this week, a couple weeks earlier than expected.
Superintendent James Watson said at Monday’s monthly Board of Education meeting crews came in over the weekend and began the process of removing and renovating the existing roof.
Crews worked for a period of time Sunday evening and Monday before taking a break to allow Tuesday’s wet weather to pass. They returned to work on Wednesday.
Watson said he was told the work should take about five days of clear weather to complete.
Workers had already completed the removal and abatement of asbestos that was in the old roof.
The work was scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 but crews were able to begin nearly two weeks before the date.
The second phase of the project, the renovation of the auditorium is expected to begin later this winter, probably sometime in February.
The renovation will include the replacement of seating, staging, carpeting, rigging and lighting, painting and repairs, and upgrades to the existing sound system.
Although the second phase of the project is expected to disrupt some programs, notably the annual drama production (which is expected to be held several months earlier in January as a result) the first phase had had little impact on students thus far.
Programs were still being held in the auditorium as of Monday evening.
Voters approved both phases of the project during a June 29 vote. A ballot item to replace the roof passed 65-3 while the renovation of the auditorium was approved 57-5.
The total cost of the project has been estimated at $625,000. That sum includes $115,000 for the roof and $510,000 for the second phase of the project.
The project is being paid for by a transfer of monies from the General Fund to the Capital Project account and a “future renovations to the Elementary and Jr./Sr. high school buildings capital reserve fund.
Administrators have contended that the project will not affect taxes.
In other matters, Budget Officer Jodi Bradshaw said an audit of the district’s finances was completed and the school received an A+ rating.
She said 2008 was the last time an audit was completed and the district received the same A+ rating at the time.