RHS Agriculture Education Center construction

The frame of the new Agriculture Education center at Rockmart High School is up as construction continues on the new facility started earlier in the year. The project is slated to be completed in December. / Kevin Myrick

Workers are busy at the Cedartown and Rockmart High School campuses as the school year is now well underway to finish up construction projects that will provide additional classroom space to students ranging from agriculture to the fine arts.

Superintendent Laurie Atkins said she’s happy so far with the progress being made in district-wide projects approved by voters last year when the extension of the Education-only Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax fund passed.

Those projects include the soon-to-be completed Agriculture Education center at Rockmart High School, new fine arts facilities at Cedartown High School, resurfacing of tracks at both facilities, a press box update at RHS’s football field, and even heating and air updates at all the schools, including new systems for Eastside and Westside Elementary school gyms.

Atkins said the progress on the Agriculture Education center is going well as steel framing for the facility is already in place, and the rest of the construction continues. She said construction officials from R.K. Redding Construction have provided completion date of early winter, and hopefully in time for students to come back from the holidays in January 2019.

“Our construction group is doing a fabulous job so far with our new facilities,” Atkins said.

Work is also moving well along at Cedartown High School’s new facilities for the drama, band and arts wing that got underway after school finished for the 2017-18 calendar year.

This summer, Atkins said the need for crews to come into the school and move utilities like water and gas lines, and make appropriate electrical connections, were completed before students came back to the campus in August.

It made ensuring students who needed summer school and who take part in activities while the building was closed not overly difficult, since Cedartown Middle School was utilized for much of the time between June and the beginning of August for those programs.

Also, security updates were completed at schools, with new locks installed and entryways into campuses blocked off to keep visitors or unwanted outsiders from accessing building entrances other than heading to the front office.

Atkins explained the move as an additional layer of protection for students, and that the doors and entryway improvements are vital to ensuring the safety of students. The doors only lock to those trying to get in from outside, so in case schools need to be evacuated quickly for a fire emergency students can still get out without issue.

The security updates purchased with E-SPLOST funds and those provided by the state also include blocked off breezeways with fencing only accessible via locked gates requiring a code, and cameras and buzz-in systems were also installed at several elementary schools.

The ESPLOST won’t be completed when work is done at Cedartown and Rockmart High Schools however.

Atkins said upcoming projects include much-needed repairs to the Rockmart High football stadium press box, which has a leaky roof and became a wet mess during the Heard County game’s weather delay.

Paving of the parking lots at Cedartown High and Westside Elementary is also still to come, but only after the construction is completed for the fine arts addition at CHS.

Technology upgrades are still pending as well. Atkins explained that with a shift from more expensive Apple iPads to Chromebooks for students have helped save money, and a portion of those savings are being used to fund officers in the Polk School District police department.

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