ConVal Science Dept. finishes renovations

  • ConVal High School junior Ella McCullough of Peterborough takes notes during her A.P Bio class in the newly renovated science class room Tuesday afternoon.  Photo by Daisy Young

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Intern
Published: 9/25/2018 10:36:18 AM

ConVal High School students settled back into the science classrooms Monday, following this summer’s $1.75 million renovation.

The project updated the classrooms that had not been compliant with modern safety codes and ADA compliance standards.

Carol Young, the science department head at the high school, said the cabinetry and plumbing had not been redone in decades. Some of the drains in these science rooms were made out of glass – a throwback to the 1970s when acid was used during science classes and was then poured down the drain, Young said. “You were supposed to be able to throw acid down there. Something we don’t do anymore.”

“The biggest driver was that we were not up to code. Many of the outlets wouldn’t work, so if you went into Ms. Woods room to plug something in, you could only have that one outlet in use,” Young said.

The downstairs chemistry and biology rooms were gutted as a result.

“We rearranged the chemistry room to make them bigger and safer, as well as more moveable, safer chemical storage,” Young said.

Other updates include a new conference room to serve as a quiet space for teachers to meet with students as well as “a proper chemistry prep area.”

A building renovations committee, made up of school board members, teachers, administration, and students, advised on the renovations.

“The process of putting together that committee took a couple of years, we had this whole big dream plan for the school for what we would want to do, but in the end it is really what you have to do,” Young said.

Young said SAU, school staff as well as some parents worked on the project, which kept costs low, including John Perky and Keith Akerley, who helped as electricians and Rick Tracy the schools head custodian. Many local contractors also worked on the project including D.S Huntington Company Architectural Woodworking of Peterborough and Hutter Construction Corp. of New Ipswich.

The project budget was $1.75 million, which included a $1 million bond approved by voters, and $750,000 from a capital reserve fund. Since the district was able to hire so many members of the ConVal community, the project came in at about 10 to 15 percent under budget. The left over money enables smaller renovations to continue taking place.

The renovations started as soon as the science teachers moved out of their rooms on June. 18 after a long process of organizing clutter, Young said, “It took the science teacher a couple months to get things sorted out, picked through, packed up, we are talking about 47 years worth of junk here.”

Science teachers officially moved back into their classrooms Monday.

In regular classrooms it has been difficult for the science teachers, like Brock Lambert, to run regular labs, Young said. 

“I’m really proud of our science teachers,” Young said. “How can you have kids do volume and density labs when you don’t even have access to water? (Lambert) says whenever he needs a little pick me up he goes down and looks at his new room.”

Last week, Young said, that both the students and teachers were looking forward to returning to their old, but newly renovated rooms.


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