NC plans renovations for 2016-17 school year


Kat Shambaugh

The current Jeanette McLeod theater at NC will soon rest in pieces. The county claims construction should begin in early November, and the old facility will be replaced with a completely new building and updated technology.

Kat Shambaugh, Copy Editor, Photo Editor

As NC enters a new academic year, the school awaits renovations to increase the quality of learning and extracurricular activities. Updates for the 2016-2017 school year, funded by last year’s Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST), include a new theater and gym. Construction on the facilities will start at the earliest in November and may last up to 18 months.

Cobb County originally planned to start construction over the summer, but changes in developmental ideas and hired contractors pushed the date back.

“The county decided to change their philosophy and how they were going to approach construction,” Principal Bucky Horton said. “They had originally used a construction manager at-risk but decided to move away from that and put it back out to bid. When you’re dealing with school systems, they have to allow bids for a certain number of days to give everyone a chance. The whole legal process set us back to early November at best.”

Furthermore, other factors may interfere with construction time.

“As of right now, they’re saying early November. Still, even if they set a date, if it rains that whole week, they won’t start. So we are bound by weather too,” Horton said.

All the World’s a Stage

Plans for a new theater started with the SPLOST vote in August, 2015. Construction will demolish the current facility and rebuild one in its place, with updated technology and more seating.

“The theater is going to be much larger than what we have now. Construction will completely knock down our current building, and the new facility will be much improved with modern technology,” Horton said.

With the theater’s renovations, the county may also adjust parking in the upper lot.

“They’re still playing with the design but since there will be a much nicer entrance on the outside of the building, they may rework traffic so as not to back up parking in the upper lot,” Horton said.

The current Drama teacher, Candice Corcoran, must adjust to the situation.

“It’s complicated because now we have to decide where we are going to perform, especially if we go off campus. So it’s another layer of problems, but the new theater will definitely be worth it,” Corcoran said.

A Career out of the Classroom

The SPLOST vote also allocated money for a new gymnasium. The construction starting in November will not replace the school’s oldest “auxiliary” gym, but rather place another facility nearby.

“Cobb County is not going to knock down the old gym as per the original plans, but they are actually going to drop in a new gym on top of where the tennis courts currently are, push the courts up toward the back practice field, and build a new practice field by clearing some of the timber and area,” Horton said.

The auxiliary gym will retain all of its structure, minus the basketball courts.

“The county philosophy is that nobody has three gyms, so they will take out the basketball goals and our oldest gym will be an all-purpose facility,” Horton said. “The wood floor and the bleachers will remain so technically you could roll in a basketball goal, but it could also function as a weight room or other hub. What we do with that room will become a discussion with our coaching staff as well as input from the kids when it all happens.”

Construction will take place during school hours, but stay out of the way of student travel. Despite the mess ahead, Horton remains positive on the new changes.

“After last year I am really excited going into this year,” Horton said. “I think last year’s seniors were quite phenomenal in their leadership and this year’s seniors are starting off just as strong so I am excited to see how students take ownership in the building this year. It will be difficult to deal with at times, but the end result is well worth the struggle to get there.”