Purdy school upgrades prove popular in crowd test

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Big game offers opportunity to test $1 million improvements

Mid-January offered the first big test for the new construction at the Purdy School District.

The basketball game against Pierce City brought in the largest crowd to a sporting event to date this season. The $1,045,000 project, altering the entrance to the gym by placing the ticket window indoors, moving the bathrooms beyond the gym and combining the concession stand with the cafeteria, faced public scrutiny.

Superintendent Stephen Chancellor spent much of the evening in the hallway, watching the crowd.

"A lot of Pierce City people had not seen the changes we made," Chancellor said. "I heard them say, 'We don't have to stand outside anymore.' We relieved the log jam in the five-foot space between the gate and the restrooms."

The hallway offered space for casual meetings, rather than continuous congestion, as in the past. Chancellor noted people who left the game to make a bathroom run returned much more quickly than in the past. Most conversations were taking place in the commons area with the new concession stand, south of the gym. Chancellor said he also plans to add a TV screen in the concession area showing the game, so the public will miss even less of the action.

Chancellor said the cafeteria expansion has proven to be a huge success after the first half of the school year. He said students are eating meals in an appropriate lunch time, not stressed by shortened periods to move the entire student body through.

"We have a higher number of students eating there, and they're not bogging down," Chancellor said. "The new schedule has also created a window to restock and catch your breath, which we didn't have before. It's been great."

With discretionary funds left over, Chancellor accepted an offer by volunteers to complete a major renovation of the locker rooms.

Chancellor told school board members he had received the final application for payment from Bales General Contractors and chose not to submit it for approval this month. Minor work remaining includes replacing some door locks that were mismade, plus adjustments in the heating and cooling for the restrooms. The roofer waited until better weather to make a final inspection of changes made over the cafeteria and gym, made in conjunction with changing roof-mounted heating and cooling units.

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