The finishing touches are underway at the new home of the Riverside Rebels. Students, teachers, and staff will be starting the 2011-2012 school year in the newly constructed junior and senior high school facility located on Highway 18 in Lake City.
Mark Cahoon is serving as project manager. Tate Construction started the 90,000 square foot building project in March 2010.
Riverside Superintendent Tommy Knight is proud of the building. This is Knight's fourth year as superintendent at Riverside.
"I knew the project would be a big job, but it was even bigger than I thought," Knight said. "The first board meeting I attended at Riverside we discussed the building project. It became a reality because of the vision of the patrons."
There will be an estimated 360 students in grades 7-12.
The junior high classrooms are on one end with the senior high classrooms on the other. The entrance/lobby area features a large school emblem painted on the floor.
The classrooms are all equipped with SMART Boards, amplifiers, phones, document cameras and computer stations. Teachers will have laptops. There is also storage space in each classroom.
The high school science department will have state of the art labs in the senior high and junior high.
The cafeteria has a cloud effect ceiling with a stage area that can seat 250.
"This will be great for plays, assemblies, and other activities," Knight said. "Our drama teachers were excited about having actual dressing rooms behind the stage area."
The new school also has three computer labs, two for business classes and one for general classes.
There are two teacher lounge rooms, one in the junior high and one in the senior high. The band and music departments, used by both junior and senior high, are centrally located with sound proof walls.
The FFA department has a classroom and a shop with new tools and equipment. The FCCLA Department will feature classroom and four complete kitchen stations with all new appliances.
The gymnasium will seat 1,230 and has 300 chair back seats. Two full physical education classes can be conducted at the same time.
Security cameras have been placed throughout the campus. During school hours the back doors will not open from the outside and visitors entering the school will have to come through the front lobby doors and a secretary will let them into the main building.
Energy saving touches have been added with automatic motion light control system, computers will automatically shut down in the late evenings, the building was well insulated around and above, the thermostat will be programmed to kick on in the mornings with only a two degree variance up or down. It will go to maintenance numbers during out of school time.
There are 299 marked off parking spaces and when needed for events, there will be additional parking in the west elementary school parking lot which is located behind the new high school building.
Knight and his staff will not be locating in the new building at this time. His office will remain on Catfish Drive where it has always been.
"We will be using some of the space in the old high school for storage right now," he said.
Knight said the project may come in a little under $13.2 million.
"If it does maybe it can be used to jump start the construction of a new building for Riverside East Elementary in Caraway," Knight said. "Hopefully, we can start this fall in the planning stages."
Knight said the state's partnership funds helped with the overall project.
An open house is scheduled for the public at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.
Grades seven through 12 have scheduled orientations starting Aug. 4 with a different night for each grade.
School will open for students on Monday, Aug. 15.