Progress being made at Ironton schools

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Robert Workman of Wheelersburg stopped his truck at the edge of the new Ironton High School construction site and snapped a quick photograph.

“I went here from 1938 to 1942,” he explained, glancing at what is left of the old high school and the new facility being built around it.

Already work is under way to join the old and the new sections, the new part being accommodations for the future and the old being preservation of part of the city’s cherished past. “I come by here all the time and I came by today because I remembered to bring a camera.”

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His visit Monday gave him the chance to speak with Superintendent Dean Nance, who was also making a visit to the site.

“Is the (old) library still intact?” Workman queried.

“Yes, but we’re building a new library,” Nance replied. “We might use the old one for a meeting room.”

“What are you going to do with the smokestack (from the old heating system)?” Workman wanted to know.

“Oh, it’s gone,” Nance told him.

While Nance caught Workman up to speed, briefly, on how work was going, construction workers laid block, whizzed past on heavy equipment and applied brick veneer to the exterior of the building.

“The brick has been made to match the outside of the old building,” Nance explained.

Brad Bentley, site supervisor for general contractor J&H Erectors, estimated that 65 percent of the block work on the new high school has been completed.

“We’re trying to get all three floors under roof before bad weather,” Bentley said. “We should be there by mid-December. The floor slabs are done and the underground utilities are about 90 percent complete.”

The block work on the auditorium is nearly completed. An orchestra pit and a sound booth are both visible amidst the stacks of blocks and scaffolding.

In a nod to the old, medallions that graced the front of the old building were saved from demolition and are being installed in part of the new building.

Work began at the high school in early July after most of the old building was torn down.

Across town at the elementary/middle school, workers are already priming and painting interior walls in many areas of the building and completing installation of windows. Nance estimated that 60-70 percent of that facility has been completed. Once window installation is complete, workers will begin installing drop ceilings and exterior doors.

The progress at the schools has gotten the attention of Angela Waters, with Jezerinac Geers and Associates of Dublin, structural consultants for the project. In a letter dated Sept. 12, Waters told school officials that of the 8-10 final reviews of school projects she has done in the last 3-4 years, the Ironton one “significantly impressed me as the best. The quality of workmanship in the building showed me the contractors take pride in what they are doing and I am equally pleased with the quality of the project management.”

Yards away, workers have already sown 2,100 pounds of professional grade athletic grass.

“It will be ready by spring,” Nance said.