Busting at the seams: B-Hall set for expansion

Busting at the seams: B-Hall set for expansion

As the bell rings, students can be seen pushing and shoving their fellow peers to get to their classes in a timely fashion. The five minute chaos of a passing period is a result of the growing population in the high school and surrounding district. But this problem won’t last for long because the expansion of B-Hall is in the near future.

“There will be several projects occurring out of the first bond sale, out of the total package,” Dr. Dennis Womack, the Lovejoy ISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations said. “From that, we’ll see an addition at Lovejoy High School, about a 20 classroom addition over on the east side of the campus that will mirror, similar, to what we did on the west side a few years back.”

The school is close to maximum capacity as some classes have 30 or more students, leaving many on campus hoping the addition will be finished as soon as possible.

“Yes [I am excited for the new B-Hall], but I don’t think that it will help the crowding in the hallway’s because people are still going to have to get from class to class, no matter where the classes are,” junior Abby Martin said. “If [the expansion] happens, they need to make passing periods longer because it will take forever to get over there.”

The project could start as soon as spring 2015.

“For the total bond package, we are looking at about ten years in terms of all of the projects,” Womack said. “For the initial projects [ like expanding B-Hall], we would want to get started as soon as possible, obviously, but we have to work around the campus and what’s happening at the campuses. So it would be a little more realistic to start in the spring, in terms of preparing for construction and actually begin a lot of the projects over the summer and come close to finishing them while the students are out.”

While most of the project will be completed during summer, some construction will have to take place during school hours.

“There will be some disruptions,” Womack said. “Most of them will occur outside the building. We will try to minimize disruptions as much as possible, but anytime you’re doing construction on a campus that’s occupied, you’re going to have traffic issues, noise issues, things like that.”

“We would want to get started as soon as possible, obviously, but we have to work around the campus and what’s happening at the campuses.”  

— the Lovejoy ISD Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Dennis Womack

Classroom space is not the only thing at the high school that is being added. The press box on the football field will be expanded, locker room space will be added and there will be more cafeteria space as well.

“We basically have about 400 people in each lunch because we have about 1200 students,” assistant principal Bruce Coachman said. “Our students eat in the library, some of them eat in classrooms, some of them eat outside, but if we had to put every student to eat in the commons area, that space would definitely seem a little more crowded. In the next phase of our building, we will add classrooms and seating in the commons as well. But as we add seating, we will also add students.”

Currently, an architect that the school board hired is consulting with the board and touring the schools in order to prepare for spring construction.

“We are working with a new architect that the school board hired in July,” Womack said. “We are in the process of bringing the architect on board with the scope of work that was included in the bond that the voters passed as well as familiarizing them with the individual campuses that will be touched.”