The past few years have seen increasing talk of new construction around the school. Mr. McKenna and members of the alumni association have worked to address the needs of the Central community and raise funds for a project that will benefit the students. Plans to renovate the school grounds and create a new performing arts center have been in the works for the past three years, and we talked to Mr. McKenna for details as the project nears the final planning stages. Here is what we know:
The initial phase of the construction project is to renovate the school property to increase safety and efficiency and to prepare it for the new building addition. This includes creating a two lane road and loading dock next to the school and adding tennis courts onto the currently overgrown back property next to the parking lot. The parking lot itself will also see significant changes, as it will be the first area affected by the renovations. Mr. McKenna reports that the lot will also include tree beds. Even with space taken up by trees, there will be more than enough parking; the new lot is expected to have two hundred spots. On any given day, roughly one hundred cars currently park in both the upper and lower lots combined.
The second phase of the project is the construction of a new performing arts center connecting to the main school building. The new two-story wing will feature a 400 seat theater, music and performing arts classrooms, and can be accessed from the main building through a bridge connecting to the school’s second floor. The added space will allow Central to offer more courses relating to music and theater. This will also free up space within the building to expand STEM and engineering labs. “The students will benefit… because the performing arts center will dramatically improve our students’ ability to perform,” says Mr. McKenna. The performing arts center will be located to the side of the main building by the parking lot, but the appearance and function of Central’s front doors will not be changed.
Much progress has been made in the planning process. All the main architect and subcontractors have been identified, and the school district has committed over $8 million to renovate the school property. Construction is expected to begin by January 2019, starting with the parking lot. As for the performing arts center, the aim is to confirm a schematic design my mid October. Planners narrowed the decision down to two potential building designs over the summer, and there will soon be one concrete design. Mr. McKenna states that “in the long run it’s going to be worth it because it’s going to be safer, more aesthetically pleasing, and more efficient.”
Jana Pugsley (277)