Douglas High School expansion work on schedule |

Douglas High School expansion work on schedule

by Caryn Haller
The Douglas High School gym is getting a facelift and new bleachers are being installed to allow for nearly 300 more Tigers fans.
Brad Coman | The Record-Courier

Filing cabinets, printers, desks and boxes overrun Karen Seelbinder’s office space, but she doesn’t mind.

The Douglas High School secretary knows the temporary inconvenience of the school’s remodel is only leading to better things.

“Getting the freshmen here will be awesome. It’ll be good to have all the high school kids together,” she said. “It’s time to get a fresh look.”

Scott McCullough, the district’s project manager said the expansion of the commons, main gym and 500 building are all on schedule. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics building will be complete by fall of 2015 when the freshmen class returns to the high school.

“This is the biggest campus refresh in the school’s history,” he said Thursday of the 30-year-old campus. “The new building is the easy part, the remodel is totally unique. There’s always surprises in the remodel.”

The multi-tiered commons area students have grown accustomed to is now one level and extends into the former counseling area. It will overlook a new 10,000-square-foot, landscaped plaza area between it and the STEM building.

The kitchen area has been moved to the back of the campus, and can accommodate three times more students.

“What’s ideal about this is the new design,” McCullough said. “Point of sales will increase from two to six.”

While the main gym didn’t physically expand, it will have 300 additional seats, air conditioning, better acoustics and a new logo on the basketball court.

Students who use the 500 building for auto shop, welding, ceramics, screenprinting or art will be able to breathe easier with the changes being made there.

The shop areas will have separate air systems from the classrooms.

The classrooms are all receiving new carpet, ceilings, paint and upgrades to some of the equipment.

Originally designed as a wood shop, the welding shop required a lot of improvements. It will now have 21, 6-foot high individual welding booths around the perimeter of the shop, as well as new ventilation.

“The biggest thing we’re improving is a manifold system for welding gases. It takes the tanks out of the classroom,” McCullough said. “The bones of this building are well, but we’re making it a viable building and economical.”

Along with the two-story, 24,000-square-foot STEM building being complete by fall 2015, there will be a new traffic pattern for buses and drop-offs, as well as the small gym being expanded to accommodate a standard-sized 84-foot long basketball court.

“It’s going to be awesome for the kids. I’m excited,” Principal Marty Swisher said of the remodel. “We’re adding capacity, but we’re going to have a lot of flexibility to do a lot of things so 30 years from now we can meet the needs of the students.”

Updates of the construction work are posted weekly to the school’s website