The project — which included renovating the administration, front-office and lobby areas, relocating the front entrance, rewiring the entire building and adding interactive white boards, cameras and an audio-enhancement system to every classroom — was supposed to be finished by the end of January, but the front-office staff and administrators officially moved into their new digs Wednesday.
The renovations also came in more than $66,000 under budget. The initial construction contract was $3,029,620, but the total cost, including architect fees, was $2,963,250, according to Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley.
Principal Gina Bishop said the renovations “turned out better than I ever imagined.”
“We have the electrical capability needed to run our new audio-enhancement and camera system as well as our new interactive boards,” she said. “The administrative and main-office area is beautiful, inviting and secure to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
Hinesley also is “very pleased with the results of the project.”
“The improved functionality to the administration and lobby areas will create a more serviceable and welcoming space while also helping us address one of our primary goals to consistently maintain safety,” he said. “We also believe the classroom enhancements will continue to aid our teachers in creating learning spaces where students thrive.”
The renovations were badly needed and long overdue, according to Bishop and Hinesley.
“Safety was one of the main factors behind the project,” Bishop said. “Having a secure lobby was a must for the safety of our students and staff. The main entrance of the building was not visible and [was] difficult for visitors to locate the main office. The lobby area was very small, and due to the amount of visitors we have on a daily basis, we needed a larger area to accommodate everyone. The electrical and technology that was added was greatly needed as well.”
The electrical upgrade was necessary to handle all the new technology that was being added to the school, Hinesley said.
“In addition to rewiring the entire building, we purchased interactive white boards for every classroom,” he said. “One of the deficiencies the school had was a lack of the electrical capability to handle those boards. Also, in every classroom, we installed cameras and an audio-enhancement system that will amplify the teacher’s voice.
The new system will ensure that students can hear the teacher regardless of where they are in the room.”
Bishop said her favorite improvement is the front of the building.
“The safety this new area provides for the students and staff of Cartersville Primary School is at the top of my list,” she said. “The large windows are spectacular, and the lighted Cartersville Primary School sign lets everyone know that they are visiting Cartersville Primary School.”
Renovations began with the rewiring project, which started before the last school year ended, and the actual construction began on the last day of school in May, Hinesley said.
Since construction had to carry over into the first half of the current school year, some changes had to be made to accommodate the work zone.
“Carpool areas had to be changed, which caused a tremendous amount of traffic and congestion,” Bishop said. “Administrative offices were moved to various parts of the building, which was a bit of a hassle, but we are all now situated in our new area.”
Carpool has been the “most difficult to work around,” but the school’s families and staff have “all been very flexible during the construction period,” Bishop said.
“The Cartersville Primary School families have been so supportive during this process,” she said. “They understood all of the challenges and worked well with the school during the construction time.”
Hinesley said the school community’s “strong cooperation” made the challenge of picking up and dropping off students work out “as well as possible considering the barriers that we faced with construction.”
“We are very pleased with the support we received, and, in turn, I believe the community will be very pleased with the improved traffic pattern and the enhanced facility,” he said.
Bishop said she also appreciated the work done by Director of Operations Ken Paige and his maintenance department and Director of Technology Kristy Hovers and her staff in “making this project a huge success.”