Like many others across our area, students in Weatherly will head back to school on Monday.
Students and teachers will be working in a bit of a construction zone while the district continues to undergo ten million dollars worth of renovations.
"It's going to be a little hectic for the students but we put it out there pretty much for the staff and the families and the students that it's a two-year project and that there was going to be construction. We have it quartered off so it's not going to be an issue for any student," said Tony DeSpirito, principal at the Weatherly Area School District.
Student safety is at the forefront of the renovation project.
"When people came into both buildings, they just had free access to go wherever because they didn't have to be buzzed in, they didn't have to come into an office area," said Terry Young, superintendent of the Weatherly Area School District.
Both the elementary-middle school and high school are now equipped with secure entrances and other safety features.
"The students have to stay in, they have to come through the office to get out. We have buzzers, we have cameras throughout the facility. Safety was our number one priority," said DeSpirito.
The ongoing project is also addressing mechanical issues.
"We had water leaking all over the place, we had plumbing issues, we had electrical sockets where people were plugging things in and would get shocked," said Young.
New utility systems are being installed, as well as some new ceiling tiles and floors.
"There's some cosmetic things in classrooms but it's really about the mechanical [things], the lighting, the electrical, the plumbing, the HVAC," said Young.
Elementary and middle schoolers will return to a new gymnasium while high schoolers will enjoy a new media center.
"We have a one-touch studio in there, we have a study room, and we have a top-notch facility for the media center," said DeSpirito.
A media center will be built in the elementary-middle school next year.
The superintendent says feedback about the project has been mixed.
"This one came with a little bit of a tax hike, so there's been some mixed feelings on that because obviously taxes are high in the community already and the burden is put on local taxpayers," said Young.
But she says the improvements are what's best for the students.
"I believe there's going to be a lot of parents who are very happy with the end result," said Young.
"Starting Monday, we're ready to go!" added DeSpirito.
Young says during construction, there will be some restricted areas in the buildings for safety reasons, but no emergency exits or passageways will be blocked.
The entire ten million dollar project is expected to be complete in summer of 2020