SCRATCHING THE SURFACE: Phase III project to open up ETA classroom space for next year

COLUMBIA CITY — Whitley County Consolidated Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor said construction workers have scratched the surface on Eagle Tech Academy’s Phase III project.O’Connor said the project, which began in October, will open up enough classroom space to allow an additional 200 students at ETA for the next school year. The project will also group the school’s offices, granting direct access to them through the public entrance.“I think it’s going to be a real nice facility for the district, and something that the community can be proud of,” said O’Connor.The WCCS Board of School Trustees approved Hamilton Hunter’s bid on ETA’s Phase III project for $1,948,572, back in September. The project called for the renovation of more than 36,000 square feet, including slight renovations at Indian Middle Springs School.“Most of the work being completed on the project includes upgrading the lighting system and putting in new ceilings, carpet and paint,” said O’Connor.According to O’Connor, the project encompasses moving ETA’s business office and board room to the southwestern part of the building, which formerly housed Passages Inc.“That will free up space for a computer lab on the first floor, and there will be some windows in those walls to make it a part of the school,” said O’Connor.The Technology Department will be moved to Indian Springs Middle School and ETA’s transportation office, located on the second floor, will be moved down to the first floor, allowing enough space for two more classrooms.“There are also plans to move Special Education upstairs as well as adding an elevator to allow direct access to the second floor,” said O’Connor.According to O’Connor, Phase III is scheduled to be completed by June of 2013. In the meantime, ETA will be looking for opportunities to move the Technology Department to ISMS.“We’ll be moving the servers, and that has to be done in a timely fashion,” said O’Connor. “We can’t operate without our computers. There is a window of opportunity at Christmas and spring break, but if we can’t get that done then the only time we have left is summer. We’ll be watching that schedule.”