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A $5.3-million renovation project at Arndt Middle School is under way and on schedule, but there are a few things parents, students and staff need to be aware of before starting the new school year.
Rick Sain, Catawba County Schools facilities management director, said the staff and visitor parking lot is complete and the driveway for parents to drop off students is finished. However, a new road that connects Arndt and to Sulphur Springs Road is still under construction.
"Traffic patterns can change, as well as the way buses are routed to the facility," Sain said.
Arndt held a public meeting Aug. 16 for parents to discuss traffic flow to the school. Sain said about 100 parents attended. For parents and staff who missed the meeting, There will be signs placed on the school's route to direct parents and buses to the correct location, he said.
"How to get to the school hasn't changed, but we have added signs to move people through the site," Sain said. "We don't expect any difficulties. It's always a challenge the first couple of days of school because more people bring their children to school. That might create some backups, but nothing earth shattering."
Sain said the road to Sulphur Springs Road is expected to be complete in October.
Students riding the bus will now be shuttled to St. Stephens High School from the middle school to occupy a bus home, Sain said. Previously, SSHS students were taken to Arndt. The change comes as a result of the gym renovations.
"The shuttle is nothing new (for the school district), just for this school," Sain said, adding nine shuttle buses will transport students from Arndt to SSHS.
The middle school's gym renovation project, which totals $1.3 million, is under way and Lail Builders is on schedule.
Sain said the gym is demolished and old bleachers were taken out and placed in auxiliary gyms at SSHS and Maiden High School.
"The contractor is preparing footings and starting wall construction on the new gym," Sain said. "Contractually, the gym should be finished by the last of January. Barring a lot of rain or unusually wet weather, we should be ready to occupy the gym in February."
The construction to the school building includes 12 new classrooms, a band room and new administration suite. Sain said wall construction has started on the administration area and the band room. "Rough work" was completed on the extended corridors, which serves as an emergency exit for students and staff.
"Matthews Construction is right on schedule with their work," Sain said, adding the outside work, alongside gym renovations, should be finished in January. However, inside expansion of the drama, art and media center rooms will not be complete until the summer when school is not in session.
The drama room will expand to take two classroom sizes, which doubles its current size. The art room will increase to add space for a storage room. The media center will expand an additional 400 square feet.
For more information on the Arndt Middle School renovations, visit CCS' website at www.catawbaschools.net.