School building plans closer to fruition

By Liliana Castillo: Cannon Connections

Schools in Clovis are slowly getting closer to seeing “hammer and nail” construction across the district.

Deputy Superintendent of Operations Joel Shirley and a team of architects visited James Bickley Elementary School March 3 to talk to faculty and staff about what the renovation process will mean to them.

James Bickley is one of six schools in the district that will undergo construction between now and 2013. A new middle school will also be built by 2013.

Wilson and Company Senior Project Manager Janet Lacy walked the teachers through a list of 30 things that will be updated, renovated or added at the school.

Shirley said preliminary presentations will take place at each of the major renovation locations such as Marshall Middle School and Lockwood Elementary School.

Staff said the meeting was informative.

“I’ve worked here for 33 years so I’m excited about all the changes,” Teacher Karen Boreing said. “I hope to be kept in the loop.”

Boreing said she believes everything that will be renovated at the schools is necessary.

Principal Todd Morris said he’s been through the renovation process at a school in another district.

“This is good information for the teachers,” he said. “And the architects are great. They listen to us and try to give us all we can possibly get for the money.”

Morris said he believes the community’s money will be well-spent renovating one of the oldest schools in the district. James Bickley was built in 1946.

“We want to bring it back to its greatness,” he said.

Morris said it will be hard juggling the extreme renovations the school will undergo and the students. He said half of the classrooms will be emptied for construction.

“We’ll have to get the kids used to going to school in a construction zone,” he said. “But it will be well worth it.”

Shirley said architects and his staff want to get input from teachers because they will be in the building the most.

“They know things the design staff won’t know,” Shirley said.

Shirley said teacher input will make the renovated buildings a better learning environment for students.