Construction and renovations continue as Grady remains empty

Lindsay Ruhl

With Grady’s halls bare and students learning virtually, construction and renovations on campus continue.

The lack of student and staff presence on campus has made construction on the new building on the old student parking lot at Charles Allen Drive and 10th Street more efficient.

“Construction is great, and we are ahead of schedule because we don’t have to worry about students, staff or cars,” Principal Dr. Betsy Bockman said. “We are now scheduled to be done in May, which is a month and a half earlier of what we planned for it to be done.”

While the pandemic-closed campus sped up the construction process, there have still been some obstacles.

“There was a worker that tested positive for COVID-19 in June, so we did a huge disinfecting of the building, and he quarantined himself,” Dr. Bockman said.

Project manager Danny Gutlay oversees the new building’s construction and design and manages the architects, engineers and contractors. 

“We use construction materials and equipment, and a lot of the plans in the manufacturing places have slowed down, so it has taken longer in some ways to get our supplies,” Gutlay said.

The construction started in January, and the new addition will include new science classrooms, a library, and a repaved paved parking lot.

“We are going to move the media center to the new building and expand the cafeteria and add in another classroom and the school store,” Dr. Bockman said. “Some of the CTAE (career, technical and agricultural education) rooms on the E-wing will move to the new building, and we are going to add more science labs.”

The new building isn’t the only construction occurring on campus. The main building is also being updated.

“The theater has completely new seats, lighting and carpeting, so that definitely looks a lot better,” school business manager Byron Barnes said. “There is new lighting and new air conditioning systems in the E-Wing.” 

Energy-saving updates have also been put in place to conserve energy and help the environment when students and staff aren’t present in the building.

“The lights are now motion censored, so there are no light switches,” Barnes said. “Now, on the E-Wing, all the lights cut off until someone comes into that area. We are trying to save energy by having the lights turn off when there is no activity, so in the evenings when there is no one in the buildings, we will save a lot of energy.”

Updates on the new gym include a revamped front entrance and refreshed bathrooms. Neither renovation could not have happened if students were on campus. 

“The front part of the gym facing Piedmont Park needed a lot of help, aesthetically speaking,” Barnes said. “They’re making that area much more updated and providing a real concessions stand. When we start having visitors again, we want that front area to be a lot more updated and inviting than it was.”