Over the summer, major renovations have taken place at the school. The campus has been under construction since the first week of summer and many parts of the the school have been fenced off. The renovations include installing a new Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, installing new Classrooms of Tomorrow in Building 4, formerly the social studies building, and replacing the planters outside of all buildings with new plants and irrigation systems.
According to Principal Dr. Stephen Covert, the first phase of construction is replacing the old HVAC system. This requires the replacement of all flooring, wiring, venting and ceilings.
The building company, Gilbane, placed a chiller electrical plant between the portables by the Shell Lot. This plant produces ice during the night, when energy is cheap to use. During the day, the plant pumps water via pipes throughout campus to cool the air. According to Covert, Gilbane installed the new pipes under the campus.
At the end of each building, the school is building a “bump out,” a large concrete slab. The bump out regulates the heating and cooling of the building. Metal walls will then be added to surround these bump outs. Covert said the walls will be painted Pine View colors, blue and gold.
Although construction will continue throughout the year, Covert said the construction has been on schedule, and the campus should be ready for students and teachers by Aug. 17. Assistant Principal Janel Dorn, who served as one of the liaisons between the school and Gilbane, said, “It’s just amazing what they have pulled together.”
The installment of Classrooms of Tomorrow in Building 4 is ahead of schedule, according to Covert. As of the week of Aug. 3, the building received new carpeting and is now only waiting on furniture for the classrooms.
Every building on the campus will also receive new plants. The construction workers are building 16-inch lips of concrete extending from the exterior walls of the buildings. Without the lips, water from the planters wears down the foundation of the buildings.
The plants that were previously there will be removed and replaced with Florida-friendly plants. To save water and support sustainability, each building will also have water reclamation barrels. Teachers for each building, with help from a few students, will choose their plants. “That way there’s some individuality for each building,” Covert said. “But there’s also consistency because the plants are all from Florida.”
Because of the construction, several garden areas were affected e.g., Thomas Krause’s memorial garden. However, Covert said that all gardens will be preserved and replanted.
In the fall, only three areas will remain fenced off: the portables by the Shell Lot, Building 3 and the wooded areas by Rivendell. While Building 3, the world language building, is being renovated, the teachers in that building will relocate to the portables by Building 16.
In January, when Building 3’s renovation is at the final stages, construction in Building 1 will begin. Because of the fencing off of the wooded areas, Covert said that the North-South walkway by the Batman Bench will be temporarily taken away. “We designed this with student flow and chiefly, safety in mind,” he said.
In order for the workers to move supplies and equipment to and from Old Venice Road, a temporary utility road will be built by the gym.
According to Covert, during the school year, all construction workers will be Level 2 background checked, which includes taking fingerprints, and checked for a badge before entering campus. The workers will also not be permitted to enter the campus without security personnel accompanying them.
Due to the construction, eight new parking spots will be available to students in the Shell Lot. Other changes include upgrades to the telephone and security systems. “I really think it’s going to improve our campus and how it functions,” Dorn said.
The school is still on schedule for the construction of a new building in the wooded area near the Batman Bench, starting in 2018. This two- to three-story building will have a focus on math and science, and may include the Pine View Archives. In regards to receiving the required funding from the county for future construction, Covert believes the outlook is good. “We’re still being listed as a priority project,” Covert said.
Story MADELINE BOWMAN & MIRA CHAUHAN, Assistant Editors-in-Chief