Construction advancing rapidly at Purdy schools

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Workers for DeLong Plumbing and Heating, Matt Burgess on the lift and Mel Morgan on the floor, assembled the components of the library at Purdy Schools. The emptied room proved much bigger than expected with furnishings removed. Murray Bishoff/

New cafeteria, library, hall space surpassing expectations

Construction is moving ahead rapidly at the Purdy Schools to finish renovations for the opening of school on Aug. 12.

Superintendent Steven Chancellor reported completing an additional duct connection in the cafeteria would finish ceiling work. From there, crews could paint the entire expanded facility and lay floor tile under climate controlled conditions. Ceiling tiles in the kitchen have been replaced.

Chancellor expected cabinets to arrive in the coming week. The expanded dining area will hold an additional 10 round tables and chairs, each holding from eight to 10 students, to expand the number of students served in a single meal shifts. The Barry County Health Department will subsequently inspect the cafeteria prior to use.

The library, reduced in half by splitting the room to double the size of the cafeteria, looked much bigger than expected to board members who toured the progress recently.

Chancellor noted removing the computer tables created a much more spacious area. Students would use laptops and eliminate the furniture to keep the gained space.

Existing shelving will go back into the library on 2-by-2-foot carpet tile. Books that don't fit in the reduced space will go into classrooms or in the renovated storage room next to the new bathrooms built where the modular classrooms had been across the hall.

Board members voiced their biggest satisfaction in surveying the hallway running from the high school gym to the new, extended ramp into the elementary school. In the design from Paragon Architecture, the metal doorway with windows separating the gymnasium entrance from the south end of the complex came out. By also removing the vending machines that sat in the hallway, the space for foot traffic widened considerably. Milk and snack machines will fit in the wall indentation for the old entryway into the library, now sealed.

"This is one of the best things we've done," said Randy Henderson, board president.

"My goal is to have a clutter-free hallway," Chancellor said.

The new angled entryway to the cafeteria addition has a pointed overhang above the doors. Chancellor said he planned to have an eagle painted on the front to silence the frequent comparisons he has heard to the bow of the Titanic.

Finishing touches on the project will not come until mid-August when the custom-made metal panels decorating the exterior entrance to the gym.

One plus that came out of renovations surfaced in the parking lot. Chancellor said adjustments in the parking lot cut the number of parking places by two and gained one handicapped space.

The entire $1,045,000 project includes a facelift on the exterior entrance to the gym, expanding the cafeteria and adding a new library and restrooms for public use during sports events. Bales General Contractors is overseeing the project, due for completion by the opening of school.

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