High school upgrades detailed for school board


A major facelift is in store for Sunnyside High School, as depicted in this sketch. The improvements will take two years to complete at a cost of $45 million.

An inviting school entrance, more classrooms, administrative offices with a view of the parking lot and a bit of big brother are all part of the remodel planned for Sunnyside High School.

Last night, Thursday, the Sunnyside School Board held a work session to review the upgrades.

Architect Dick Loofburrow said the project is on target in terms of budget. He noted there is $2.1 million in contingency funds available to meet unanticipated costs.

Construction on the $45 million project will start later this year and is expected to take two years to complete. All but $7 million of the cost is covered by state funds. The remainder is being paid for through a district bond.

The project's most visible feature will be a new, two story addition that will serve as the main entry into the building. The addition will feature both office space for administrators, to give them a window on activity in the high school parking lot, as well as more classrooms.

Loofburrow said the main entrance, located near the auditorium entrance, will be given the focus as main entry instead of the doors leading to the gym, as is the case now.

Loofburrow noted the high school commons area will more than double in size, from 450 to more than 1,000 square feet.

The change in layout means offices and classrooms will be moved. During construction, there will not be a kitchen available for meals. Instead, meals will be delivered to the school. The move is expected to speed up the pace of construction and save the district about $300,000, according to Loofburrow.

The improvements include new lighting, seating and sound for the auditorium as well as a multipurpose room that can be used for productions and rehearsals.

Upgrades are not only in store for inside the school, as there will be 40 additional parking spots. In addition, exits from the parking lot will feature left and right turn lanes.

Security measures will also be enhanced, noted Jeff Gray of Conley Engineering, who was on hand for last night's meeting.

He said the school is in for a major upgrade for security cameras, as the high school will be outfitted with 150 cameras, including one at each entry. The high school currently has 30 cameras and not all of them work.

Gray said there will be cameras that offer a 360-degree view.

He noted the cameras can be viewed from off-campus by using a computer or a device such as an iPad.

Not only will that enable administrators and school resource officers to monitor Sunnyside High's hallways from off-campus, but the cameras can be placed in a classroom to provide distance learning opportunities.

The upgrades also allow for the high school doors to remain locked all day by using a keycard system for entry. Gray said the cards cost just pennies and can be canceled if they are not returned. High school staff will have the ability to create the cards on-site.

The high school improvements will be done in two phases, with final completion scheduled for August 2012.


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