For the first time in many years, students at Lovell High School will be able to relax and enjoy lunch with their fellow classmates on campus when the new balcony seating area adjacent to the recently completed multi-purpose room opens for their use on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Prior to completion of the newly constructed area, students were bused to the elementary school for lunch that was served out of the school district’s main kitchen, which is located on the elementary school campus.
Also opening for student use is the new “Bulldog Café,” which will serve a limited fare prepared in its brand new kitchen. Full lunches will continue to be prepared at the elementary school and delivered and served through the café.
“We’ve already started stocking the cafeteria, our cooks have been trained on use of the equipment and we’re going to serve lunch on Tuesday,” said Big Horn County School District No. 2 Supt. Rick Woodford.
Also complete as of this week is the school’s new multi-purpose room, which is professionally designed to allow for state-of-the-art presentations.
“I got to experience it firsthand and the sound quality in the multi-purpose room is going to be first class,” said Woodford. “Our staff has been trained how to use the multi-media equipment, the projector and screen, and how to use the video and the audio systems.”
According to Woodford, the new system includes wireless microphone capability. It also includes wireless assisted hearing devices for those who have hearing impairments like an “FM loop” compatible with many hearing aides or a headset directly linked to the microphone system.
“Audience members will be able to hear clearly what is being amplified through the PA system,” said Woodford. “It has all been acoustically tuned so that all the frequencies are where they are supposed to be and it sounds just fantastic.
“The system has been designed and engineered for the room. Acoustic panels are a part of the system along with acoustic reflectors that will project the sound without the use of microphones.”
Woodford said two custom made glass doors and a window are the only items that have not been delivered and installed at the indoor entrance to the multipurpose room but he expects those items to arrive as early as next week.
“They are actually frameless glass doors and a glass panel that will serve as a window or glass wall,” said Woodford. “Other than that and a few punch list items, the multi-purpose room is complete. This is a facility that will serve our students and our community for years to come.”
North wing delays
Change orders have backed up work into November for the school’s north wing, which includes the family and consumer science room, district offices, boardroom and special education areas. Exterior walls in the boardroom and special education room will require some insulation that was not present in that area. Woodford said construction crews found some exposed beam and places requiring patchwork and it seemed best to just insulate the area at this time. He said the job is currently out to bid and he anticipates money from the contingency fund to cover the cost.
“Originally, when the plans were drawn up, all of the exterior walls were to get insulation, but that got cut,” he explained. “Now with money left in the contingency fund, we’ve made a decision to go forward with that. It will cost the state out of the contingency fund, but it won’t cost us out of local tax dollars.
“We are in the process of getting estimates for the work. If we proceed with that plan it will probably back the project up another couple of weeks. We’re hoping to see completion by the first week of November.”
He said with the flooring done, ceilings in progress, painting done, and work on electrical and data systems in progress, November should be a reasonable date to expect completion.
One special education classroom in the wing is done and is currently in use, but the kitchen and bathroom facility located between the two classrooms is not done. He said an error in cabinetry sent items back to the cabinetmaker and caused completion of those areas to fall behind schedule.
“The bus lane is working great,” said Woodford. “I think our kids are safer because of it. It’s just working out really well.”
He noted that the bus lane near the gym is also functioning and has made that area safer, especially when games are in progress.
“It’s never safe to drive a bus through a parking lot,” he said. “It’s so much safer for the buses to have their own lane.”
So far, improvements to the playing field have been well received by football players and fans alike.
“I think the public has had the chance to see the new football field,” said Woodford. “The kids seem to be really happy with it.”
Fans attending basketball games this winter will find themselves a little more sure-footed due to a new heated sidewalk in front of the gym that will kick in to prevent ice from forming at the entrance to the gym. The system, which is heated by an underground system driven by a thermostat controlled boiler system should prevent ice from forming in the heavily traveled area.
Additional improvements to the outdoor athletic areas, including the discus cage, and the long jump and pole vault areas should be done in the spring. Woodford said the practice field now has a new underground sprinkler system and the area will be hydro-seeded in the fall.
“We hope to see a nice green practice field by next June,” he said.
The new weight room is done, and waiting for equipment to arrive. The equipment was ordered some time ago but some of it is custom, which Woodford said takes additional time.
The indoor concession stand will not be open to football attendees this season, as was originally anticipated. Woodford said it was decided to not open it to football fans until sidewalks were in place between the football field and the concession stand. Woodford said he doesn’t expect that to happen until next year. In the meantime, fans have been using the concession stand located in the gym.
No public events scheduled as yet, but parents will be able to see the areas that are complete when they attend parent/teacher conferences later in the month (Oct. 27 and 30). He said all areas that are complete are expected to be accessible to parents during their visit.
He said he wasn’t aware of any public events scheduled for the new multi-purpose room yet but expects the first major event will be a ribbon cutting and open house to be scheduled after all projects are completed.
By Patti Carpenter