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Progress means change for two county schools

Two campuses in the Lincoln County School District are seeingsome major changes this fall with construction and destructionprojects progressing every day.

The outside walls have been completed and the roof put on WestLincoln’s new library and career center, which is being built inthe center of campus. At Bogue Chitto, the west wing of the oldschool no longer exists after being torn down this week.

As West Lincoln students and faculty watch the library’sprogress with anticipation.

“We’re for sure looking forward to moving into the library assoon as possible,” said West Lincoln Principal Jason Case. “We’rehoping to get in before Christmas.”

After students move in the 4,600-square foot building, thecurrent library will be converted into classroom space.

Project Supervisor Joe Goods said the crews have been workinghard to get the students in soon but inclement weather has slowedtheir progress some.

“We’re rolling pretty good, and we’d do better if it didn’t rainalmost every afternoon,” said Goods, who still anticipates an earlyfinish date.

The inside walls are being constructed this week and paintingcould begin as soon as next week, he said.

Several walls have come down this week at Bogue Chitto withconstruction workers using heavy machinery to tear down a sectionof the school that once housed fifth and sixth grade, two highschool classrooms, the home economics department and specialeducation classrooms.

After the walls were torn down, work began on cleaning thebricks from the west wing. More than 10 Lincoln Countians werehired to chisel cement off the bricks and stack them onto pallets.They will be sold for $300 per thousand by the salvage company.

“They estimate there’s about 300,000 bricks in the school, andaround 150,000 should be salvageable,” said Bogue Chitto PrincipalBobby Allen.

Besides the bricks, much of the wood is also being sold on site.The top seller seems to be the thick heart pine boards that somepeople are using for flooring, said Allen.

Allen pointed out that work has progressed well since schoolstarted earlier this month. Before then, progress was slow becauseof asbestos removal that had to be done first.

He complimented the salvage company on their efforts to protectthe students and faculty during the demolition progress.

“They’ve taken every safety precaution they can take,” hesaid.

Most of the major work, such as tearing down walls with heavymachinery, takes place after school, while he more tedious work ofsalvaging valuables goes on during the day.

To ensure the complete safety of students, a plastic barrier isin place around the site and school activities generally takestudents away from the area. The most noticeable change forstudents was rerouting buses.

In the morning, children are dropped off at the front officewhere they enter the building. High school students go through thebuilding and out the back, carefully following a sidewalk to thehigh school hall.

“I’ve got teachers stationed at the covered walkway to make surethey don’t cross when the buses are coming,” said Allen, about thebuses being taken from the drop off spot to the parking lot nearthe football field.

Allen said everything has been running smoothly with thetransition. He is “very pleased” with the salvage company’s abilityto work around students in a safe manner, as well as showingcomplete cooperation with school officials and the community.

“They’re actually going to donate 1,000 bricks to the PTA(Parent Teacher Association) and they will be sold later for afundraiser,” said Allen. “Also, they’ve donated the elevator to alocal church, so they’re being good to the community.”

The demolition process should be completed within four months,leaving a large vacant spot on campus. If an upcoming bond issuepasses, the area will be used for a cafeteria and classrooms. Theold cafeteria could be turned into classrooms, a band hall or anagriculture shop, said Allen.