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Highlands renovation winds down, Moyer ramps up

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Posted at 10:01 AM, Dec 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-27 10:01:44-05

FORT THOMAS, Ky. -- As a 10-year renovation project nears completion, another is starting in the Fort Thomas Independent School District.

A new gymnasium, which is expected to be completed in January, marks the fourth and final phase of a renovations at Highlands High School.

Previous renovations included new walls, electrical wiring and plumbing, a new entranceway, lobby, gym floor, bleachers, lights, scoreboards, a new fitness center and fieldhouse. The new gym will also have air conditioning, unlike the old gym.

“There has been some student impact, but it has been minimized by some of the new spaces we have created in advance,” said Highlands High School Principal Brian Robinson.

The gymnasium accounts for about $5 million of the $40 million cost of the entire four-phase renovation project, the bulk of which was covered through a combination of bonds and general-fund dollars.

While work at Highlands winds down, another project kicked off Oct. 10 at Ruth Moyer Elementary with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The project is to include gutting and renovating the original structure, which was built in the 1930s, and demolishing and replacing later additions to the building. A new rear portion, with classroom space, cafeteria and a student drop-off and pick-up area, will be built.

An architect's rendering of Ruth Moyer Elementary in Fort Thomas, Ky., after a $23.9 million renovation. Previous additions to the original 1930s structure will be demolished and replaced, and the original structure will be renovated. (Provided)

SEE MORE: Schematics of Moyer Elementary plans.

A mobile village is being built to accommodate third- and fourth-grade students and physical education classes during renovations. They are expected to be in the mobile units by spring break, allowing demolition work to begin.

Once the demolition and reconstruction are finished, kindergarten, first- and second-graders are to move in, along with some students from the mobile trailers. Fifth and sixth graders have been in mobile trailers since the start of the school year.

“The obvious impact in the short term is that we have to be very flexible, and we have to be very creative with our use of space and facilities,” said Moyer Elementary Principal Dawn Laber.

Any special events usually held in the gym -- like the school’s live “wax museum” -- were scheduled for earlier in the school year, she said.

While the renovations require patience and flexibility, school and district officials expect the result to be worth the logistical challenge.

“The staff are most excited that the children will have the space and the tools that they need and that they should have to perform at a high level,” Laber said.

The Moyer project is expected to cost about $23.9 million, most of which is being paid for by the state. The building was one of 10 school renovations authorized by Kentucky’s School Facilities Construction Commission. About $1 million will be paid locally using bonds, Superintendent Gene Kirchner said.

The Moyer project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.