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Russellville High School prepares for new construction

The landscape of Russellville High School is about to change, as Russellville City Schools is preparing to begin construction on the new high school building in the upcoming weeks.

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said the construction company moved a trailer on campus in the past couple of weeks to serve as headquarters, which excited a lot of people on campus.

“Any time there is a trailer moved on campus, people know that means there is about to be construction,” Grimes said.

The pre-construction meeting took place a few weeks ago to finalize logistics of the project, including safety precautions for students.

“Safety was the first thing we wanted to address – making sure students weren’t able to be around the construction area,” Grimes said.

A barrier will block the existing courtyard, with students unable to go past the cafeteria or library. School Street will also be blocked off, but Grimes said he does not have an exact date yet of when this will occur.

All construction will occur on the northern end of campus to close off the front of the high school with a 40-foot building that is two stories tall.

RHS Principal Jason Goodwin said he and the teachers are excited to see construction begin on the newest addition.

“It is something everyone is looking forward to that I think will really improve our campus,” Goodwin said.

Construction is expected to be completed 465 days from the time of the first pre-construction meeting, which Grimes said will put construction ending in December 2021 and opening January 2022.

The new building will connect the library and the cafeteria, while holding the main office, special education department, EL teachers and the new science building, which will consist of four classrooms and two labs.

The current high school office will become the new home for the RCS technology department, and the current science building will hold history classes that are currently behind the auditorium.

“We thought this was a great chance to move a lot of our students to the main area while also modernizing facilities,” Grimes said.

Grimes said he is not unveiling the floorplan for the new building until closer to completion.

The new main high school building is Phase 1 of a two-part construction plan for the high school, with Phase 2 being a complete revamping of the Career Tech Center.

Once Phase 1 is complete, Grimes said a lot of the career tech classes will move to the new building while construction begins on the current Career Tech Center.

Phase 2 completion is expected to coincide with the end of 2022, and Grimes said after it is completed, all departments will move to their official new homes.

“For us, I think this is a statement,” Grimes said. “I think there are some people that might have written us off, but I think this is really going to show that we are still growing and improving while continuing to be devoted to maintaining that tradition of excellence that Russellville is known for. I think this is going to show that we are continuing to move in the right direction.”

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