By Oliver Lazenby
A week before the first day of school, contractors at Blaine High School were working on trim and other finishing touches in the remodeled section the school as staff moved furniture into classrooms.
This is becoming a familiar scene at Blaine High School – it’s the third year in a row that the district has wrapped up a major construction project at the high school in the final days before students return – but this marks the end of an era. The new construction is the final phase of a three-year, $38 million rebuild and remodel project at the high school.
Phase one, a new building on the south end of the high school campus with career and technical education classrooms, a cafeteria and small theater, opened to students in fall 2017. Phase two, a new two-story classroom building, opened in fall 2018.
The third phase was a remodel of the old high school to update it and combine it with the new sections. It includes one of the biggest interior courtyards that contractor Spee West Construction has ever poured, electronic door locks, remodeled offices, a library and a computer lab.
Voters approved a capital projects bond in 2015 that paid for all three phases.
As of August 20, contractors were still working on some parking lot paving. The replacement Peace Arch statue for the front of the high school was not yet finished – the old Peace Arch replica, made of wood, was rotten beyond repair and the school is getting a new steel one.
Contractors are also still working on the high school football field grandstand project. Crews have framed the buildings underneath the grandstand that will house restrooms, concessions and a storage area. Southern Bleacher, of Graham, Texas, will install bleachers above the structures later in the fall.
The project should be complete in November, said Ron Spanjer, school district superintendent. The grandstands were once scheduled to be ready in time for football season, but were delayed by a slight redesign this winter after initial estimates for construction came in over budget.