DECATUR – Work continues on the Decatur High School renovation project which started with phase one, the new middle and high school cafeteria, and is now progressing into phase two, the renovation itself.
Members of the Decatur School Board had the chance to see firsthand the work that is currently underway on the north side of the high school on June 10. The committee also visited the new cafeteria, which is 95% complete and will be ready to serve its first meal on August 18, the start of the 2021-22 school year.
At the end of 2020, work began on the new cafeteria which will serve both middle and high schools. This project is almost complete, there are only new electrical items, floor tiles and paint left to finish. The new kitchen is ready for the 2021-22 school year with a few new appliances like a larger dishwasher, while some of the stoves, ovens and service lines have been moved from the old cafeteria and kitchen.
While the work of the first phase is nearing its end, the second phase is in full swing with the old cafeteria and kitchen, administrative offices and classrooms in the north of the school undergoing renovation.
Almost all of the interior walls of the old cafeteria have been removed, with the exception of the stage. The ceiling was also removed, which revealed a big problem. The old metal roof was riddled with holes that caused leaks in the ceiling area. Fortunately, a new roof will be in place by the end of July. Once this area is completed, the Decatur High School group, under the leadership of Jesse Owens, will have a new practice location with plenty of space for the group to expand and grow in the future.
The kitchen, which once heralded the sound of pots, pans and silverware, will soon be home to music of a different variety. The structure was completely dismantled to the exterior walls. For the first time in over several decades, the Decatur High School Choir will have its own home, no longer having to share with the group. One of the design features of these two halls is the access to a new concert hall, the new cafeteria which has a portable stage which can be easily set up for concerts and any other type of programs.
Most of the old administrative offices located at the northeast corner of the school have all interior cinder block walls removed and replaced with galvanized steel posts, giving the buildings greater durability. They will soon be ready for drywall materials.
The six classrooms on the northwest side were also gutted, the two that opened onto the covered walkway stripped down to the red clay foundation material. This will soon be filled with a new concrete slab and all classrooms and offices will be completed and ready to be occupied by the end of the summer.
The entire renovation project is expected to be completed sometime in 2022. When complete, the 50-year-old structure will sport a more modern look similar to Northside Elementary. Other updates will come as the work progresses.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS The old cafeteria at Decatur High School is completely destroyed, leaving the old stage, exterior walls and roof. Upon completion of the project, the cafeteria will fulfill its new role as the music room for Decatur High School, which is almost double the size of the current facility.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS An old classroom that occupies the north side of the high school building is completely stripped down to the red clay foundation and a new trench on June 10. The trench was needed to replace the aging water and sewer lines in the 50 year old structure.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS Members of the Decatur School Board examine the nearly full cafeteria at Decatur High School on June 10. Only a few electrical, painting and tiling problems remain to be completed. The project will be ready to receive its first students on the opening day of classes on August 18.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS The prep area, including stoves and ovens, is ready for use as the new kitchen at Decatur High School nears completion on June 10. Most of this equipment has been removed from the old kitchen and will continue to operate in the new facility. from August 18.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS The area where high school students once walked between classes is now bustling with heavy equipment as work continues on phase two of the Decatur High School renovation project on June 16. Most of the classrooms, administrative offices and the cafeteria have been gutted into a sacred box and replaced with metal building materials.
Westside Eagle Observer / MIKE ECKELS A worker stands at the corner of the old cafeteria as a cement mixer, which barely fits into the old covered walkway, pours concrete into some of the rooms on the north side of Decatur High School June 16. The floors in some of the old classrooms and offices have been removed to replace the old plumbing and in some cases remove pipes that are no longer needed.