In some rooms, all that is needed is furniture.
In other places, acoustic ceiling tile and flooring are missing.
But regardless of what room you stand in, officials with the Crossett School District said last week that the new high school construction is even closer to complete than it appears.
Superintendent of Schools Gary Williams said the district hopes to move the students into the $20 million, 129,850-square foot facility around the end of October.
The move-in will be easy in part because much of the old equipment will stay in the 1950s-vintage school building the district is leaving behind.
“We will have new teachers’ desks, new students’ desks, new smart boards — new everything — so all the teachers have to do is bring over their personal belongings,” CHS interim principal Anthony Boykin said. Boykin — who was previously the vice-principal — will officially take over as principal on his contract in June, but is already assuming the job responsibilities in the absence of Principal Alicia Brown, who is on medical leave.
Boykin said he and his staff are very excited to get started in the new building.
The campus has five connected buildings, an amphitheater, private bathrooms for the students and many new features.
What’s known on the construction site as “Building A” is an arena that can seat more than 2,000. It’s connected to a large cafeteria with an outdoor patio.
The new arena will make Crossett eligible to host state and regional basketball tournaments in the future, and Williams said Crossett will eventually start bidding on those events, though the district is sitting out this year because of the tight construction deadline with the start of the season.
Building B will house students’ core classes — math, science, English and history. Every classroom has a smart board, and the four science rooms are complete with their own mini-labs with two larger science labs and chemical storage areas.
In addition to four classrooms for each of the core subjects, the building also houses a classroom for engineering and robotics. Engineering pathways, robotics pathways and computer science principles will be the only electives offered in Building B because those are taught by core subject teachers who will alternate using the extra classroom. The extra room will feature a classroom set of computers, a fantic arm — such as the one used in manufacturing companies — and other features to enhance the student’s learning experiences.
It likewise has four safe rooms with reinforced doors that can hold all of the school, Boykin said. The rooms, which will be used as regular classrooms, also serve as storm shelters.
The Media Center, Building C, houses the administrative offices, the library and the main entrance area for parents and visitors. All of the buildings are equipped with bulletproof glass and electronic lock systems on all of the doors. The Media Center has an entryway, however, that allows guests to check in without entering the buildings.
“They can come in out of the elements and speak to one of my secretaries at the window and be buzzed in to the building if needed,” Boykin said.
The building also has a waiting room for guests to eliminate traffic to the main office, and a conference room in the principal’s office as well.
Building C also features a self-contained special education room that has a full bathroom with a shower, washer and dryer set, full cook top stove and other amenities. The features are there to give hands on experience while teaching life skills to the students in that program, Boykin said.
The fourth building, Building D, is where the students will go for their elective classes such as Art, EAST Lab, Virtual Arkansas and other courses offered at CHS. The electives building also houses a family and consumer science room with four kitchens and other necessary amenities, the sound proof choir room, sound proof band room and a drama room. The band, choir and drama rooms are all near the portion of the building that connects with Building E which is the auditorium.
The auditorium will be the last building to be finished, and Williams said it is possible that it may still be under construction when the students move in.
Voters approved the construction of the new school in February 2016, and the school board officially broke ground on the project the following year.
While the district had initially planned for students to begin the 2018-2019 school year in the new buildings, significant weather delays slowed some of the initial construction.
Even if the school hasn’t made the final transition into the new buildings at that time, the first basketball game is scheduled for the arena on Nov. 14.
Boykin said students will be given a tour before classes begin in the building.