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Nouveau Mojo - Odessa American: Education

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Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2007 12:00 am

Fiberglass. Exposed metal. Yellow caution tape. Permian High is a hard hat zone, but vice principal Shelia Stevenson said the nearly 50-year-old building will be ready for students when school starts Aug. 27.

The $10.2 million renovations to Permian — which will continue for about a year, Stevenson said — are part of the $89.5 million bond project approved by voters in 2001.

Improvements will continue throughout the school year, and many students will spend time in one of 16 portable buildings, which are the size of regular classrooms, ECISD Maintenance Director David Finley said.

Once new science laboratories are complete, only 12 portable buildings will be needed, Finley said. Students will rotate to the portable buildings as their classrooms are being renovated.

About a half-dozen portable buildings are already in place at the north end of the building, and others will abut the tennis courts, Stevenson said.

Finley and Stevenson stressed that the portable buildings are not permanent fixtures.

Finley estimated their lifespan at about two months.

“The portable buildings are just to relocate the kids out of the classrooms while we redo the classrooms,” he said.

It’ll just be a temporary affect on students, he said.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” incoming senior Allie Smith said. “I guess I’d rather be inside.”

Stevenson herself had to box up her stuff and move temporarily to a smaller office.

“It’s become a little inconvenient,” she said. “But when I think about what it’s going to be, we can live with it.”

When construction is complete, the school will be safer, larger and more energy-efficient, head custodian Carl Poitevint said.

New fire doors, firewalls and fire alarms will bring the building up to fire safety standards, he said.

Stevenson said the expanded library will have more room for students, books, computers and files. Poitevint said seven new science laboratories are being built at the south end of the school.

“I think it’s kind of weird that they’re renovating the Science Hall because it was one of the newest of all the wings,” Allie said. “But it’s good they’re putting in newer labs, because it would be cool.”

In the meantime, new administration offices are being built, and the front lobby and entrance are being completely redone, Finley said.

Energy-saving improvements include narrower fluorescent lights, new windows and a modern air conditioning and heating system — the old one dated from 1959, the year the school was built, Poitevint said.

Making up an estimated one-third of the total cost of the $10.2 million project, replacing the air conditioner “is by far the largest mechanical job the district has done or will do,” Finley said.

Modern plumbing will replace the old “rather antiquated” pipes, and all bathrooms will meet federal guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Poitevint said.

And the high school is getting a new paint job, with warm shades of white and sharp shades of gray and black replacing the old, all-white-ish interior, Stevenson said.

Crews are working overtime and on weekends to get Permian in shape for the students, but you won’t have to wait until school starts to find someone excited about the renovations: “I’m ecstatic!” Poitevint said.

Odessa, TX

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