Things will never be the same for Utica High School.
A major renovation project at the high school took a noticeable step forward recently when construction began on a new media center.
Crews began demolition work on the portion of the school fronting Shelby Road.
"We are excited about the impact our building improvements will have on the programs offered to Utica High School students," said Principal Janet Jones. "The projects ensure that our students continue to learn in facilities that are safe, well-maintained and can support important changes in the way we deliver instruction."
The construction work, being funded through a bond issue approved by voters in 2009, is part of a multi-year effort that will result in one of the most ambitious renovation projects in the school's history.
Previously through the renovation work, the school's wrestling, fitness and weight rooms were relocated to the former pool area. The fitness and wrestling areas were renovated into classroom space and corridors.
In addition, the relocation of main offices to the west side of the school has been completed. Once fully completed, the improvementswill result in a restricted entrance to improve overall building security and create a clear entrance to the high school.
This summer, work will continue on creating a new media center that will be comparable to newer space at the district’s other high schools. The new media center is expected to be completed by fall of 2014.
Work will also continue this summer on three science rooms replacing the current media center, overall improvement to the building's infrastructure, and upgrades to the school's first-floor hallways and student lockers.
The Utica High School renovation projects realize a commitment made by district to create greater equity and parity among school facilities through the $112.5 million bond issue approved in 2009.
In addition, the Utica High School project is made possible with assistance from a federal grant that will save UCS taxpayers more than $10 million in bond costs over the next 15 years.
Under state law, bond issue funding can be used for capital improvements and not to offset operating expenses.