ROANOKE COUNTY, VA. – After years of planning and months of construction, some area high school students have a new home away from home.
The puzzle that was the renovation at Cave Spring High School is complete, and while the school year is anything but normal, they’re starting to settle in. But it was a turbulent road getting there.
Whether it was a section of the school gutted to the studs, demolished or a brand new addition, the project is essentially complete.
Cave Spring board member Mike Wray led a tour Friday and said it was a race to the finish.
“I was here last week and I saw cabinets in the hallway and I said “Uh,” and Troy Smith, president of Avis, said, ’They’ll be done today, they’ll be done today,’” Wray said.
The school was 50 years old and plagued with a number of problems. Getting this project done was no easy task; there were hiccups from planning to budgeting, even COVID-19 positive test results among workers, delaying construction.
But school superintendent Ken Nicely said he’s proud of the team effort, which Wray said was on time and on budget.
“Everybody working together to get the project back on track and get everything set up to take care of the students, and 19 months later, in essence, a beautiful new school,” Nicely said.
The project cost $43 million and included new classrooms, 50,000 square feet of additional space, a new administration wing, a rehabed auditorium and digital clocks everywhere so students have no reason to be late.
Most of the final touches are minor, but there is still one major problem: The gym is still under construction because the floor and bleachers got messed up.
“We continue to work with the contractor to make sure all those things get done, and not leave anything undone for the students so we’ll get that list together and make sure everything is done properly,” Nicely said.
The pandemic helped the process along, eliminating students from the mix in the spring, but it also delayed shipment of some construction materials. Due to the pandemic, they can’t have an open house to show it off, but Wray said the feedback he’s gotten has been good.
“Many parents came to pick up laptops and had the opportunity to go through and I’ve had numerous emails praising what it really looks like now,” Wray said.