(Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

 

October 26, 1998

High schools get a face lift

By JESSICA NORTON
The Tattoo

Many students and faculty are upset over the
construction at Bristol Eastern and Bristol
Central high schools. But few realize the work
going on backstage.
 
The much-needed renovations at both high schools
will take two or three years to complete and
bring the buildings up to current fire, electric
and other codes, said Elia Gontzes, project
manager for the Tratanos Contracting Co. of
Brooklyn, N.Y., the general contractor.

"The building was up to code when it was
originally built," Gontzes said, but today that
code is inadequate for new technology and
handicapped accessibility.

While construction is going well, it is behind
in schedule due to a delay in signing the
necessary contracts last summer.

"Eastern has about 8 or 9 phases while Central
has 8. Each phase covers about 16 to 18 rooms at
a time and both projects are similar," said
Gontzes. The phases involving heavy construction
are mostly taking place in the summers to avoid
problems.

"We hope to have the first phase completed by
December," said Gontzes. The English hall at
Eastern should be ready for Christmas.

By the end of the school year, the English,
social studies and biology halls in
Eastern'northwest corner "from upstairs to
downrd" should be finished, said Leo Spencer,
who acts as a representative for the Board of
Education and works with and oversees the
construction.

The renovations at both schools will ultimately
involve tremendous improvements. Among the
changes, said Spencer, will be two new gymnasium
floors that have new foundations and drainage to
insure that they will last, the moving of
administrative offices, and the latest in
mechanical, electrical, and technological
changes.

Also in store for both schools are new
libraries, computer labs, science laboratories,
and upgrades to the music wings, art wings and
athletic fields. Central's fields are
nearly done already.

Another new addition, Spencer said, is that the
schools will be "semi air-conditioned." This
means the air system will be adjusted to a
"tempered air system" not to "cool the building
from 80 to 70 degrees" but to "take down the
mugginess."
 
One of the largest parts of the construction is
putting in a new boiler/heating system. It will
allow the use of new heating valves and create a
new hot water unit as well, said Spencer.
While the renovations have caused trouble and
confusion to students and staff alike, Spencer
said both have been understanding and
supportive.
 
"I appreciate the kindness for understanding the
inconvenience," he said. He also said that extra
rooms in both schools have been a "blessing" and
without them much movement would have been
impossible.

"I have worked in schools where they had no
extra rooms," said Gontzes, "it's terrible."
 
One of the few problems has been with possible
safety issues involving some students crossing
construction boundaries.

"Kids should take notice of the construction
going on," said Spencer. "The last thing we want
to see is someone getting hurt."
 
"Use common sense," said Gontzes. "Don't cross
the boundaries."  



To read how the construction is changing high school life, check out The Tattoo's series of Life Under Construction journal pieces by clicking here


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