Facility Construction Lead Supervisor Steve Werner, left, leads a tour of Cherokee North for Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, right; School Board members including Chair Kyla Cromer, center; and Kelly Poole, left; and senior staff. In this image, you can see the new interior painting to match the main campus and the newly installed lockers.
The Cherokee County School Board and Superintendent of Schools recently took a sneak peek at the newly renovated Cherokee North annex at Cherokee High School before it opens on the first day of school, Aug. 1.
Cherokee North, formerly the home of Canton Elementary School, will alleviate overcrowding at the main campus and prepare for increasing enrollment -- 2,797 students are expected this school year, with 881 of that total in the ninth grade. Cherokee HS parents and students can get their first look at the school’s open house from 9 to 11 a.m. on July 30.
The Cherokee North campus, based on input from the school community, will serve as a Ninth Grade Academy and will house World Language classrooms and band program among other uses.
“We went all in,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said of staff efforts to transform the 124,000-square-foot building over the summer break from an elementary to high school in order to put it fully into use on Aug. 1. “It’s going to make a world of difference for Cherokee High School.”
The decision to repurpose Canton ES was not an easy one for the School Board, but Board members said they were pleased to see the transformation and hear the positive impact it will make on school operations.
Principal Todd Miller said the additional space (74 classrooms, as well as a media center, art rooms, labs, gym and cafeteria), will create huge relief for every aspect of operations and overcrowded infrastructure – from class changes to serving lunch to providing student parking.
The school already uses a special operations model to support freshmen, and the addition of Cherokee North allows for that Ninth Grade Academy to have its own distinct home as well. Another exciting improvement noted by Principal Miller: the school’s band program, which has grown so much it needed an assistant director, will see its space more than double by relocating to Cherokee North. The band’s new home in the former media center at Cherokee North provides not only ample practice space, but also adequate storage and a music library.
“We’re rising to the top here,” Principal Miller said.
With the expansion into Cherokee North, the 16 mobile units in the main campus parking lot no longer were needed and were removed, which freed up 198 parking spaces for staff and students, in addition to the 181 spaces gained on the Cherokee North campus. Bell times will be adjusted at Cherokee North to allow additional time for class changes, and a covered walkway has been installed between the two campuses. The main campus will decrease its lunch periods to four, all of which will be less crowded, with the addition of three lunches at Cherokee North.
To make this new use possible on the campus constructed in 2008 for elementary school use, it required renovation projects, including:
• Installation of steps, an accessibility ramp, crosswalks and 461 feet of walkway canopy to facilitate student movement between the two campuses;
• Replacement and/or height adjustment of plumbing fixtures in student restrooms to meet high school student needs and accessibility requirements;
• Installation of 870 new student lockers;
• Removal of playground equipment;
• Installation of Viewsonic interactive smartboards in classrooms;
• Installation of new fiber pathways connecting the two campuses’ media centers;
• Repainting all interiors to match main campus;
• Refinishing the gym floor to match main campus;
• Installation of new LVT flooring and LED lighting in administrative offices; and,
• Installation of new Cherokee North signage at main entrance and at Marietta Highway.
Elementary students previously served at Canton ES are moving to R.M. Moore ES and Knox ES, both of which will open at STEM Academies – continuing the additional academic enrichment Canton ES students experienced, and expanding it to many more students.
R.M. Moore ES, which will welcome the majority of Canton ES students, received upgrades in preparation for its increased enrollment including:
• Installation of the two relocated playground sets from Canton ES;
• Installation of a new front awning for car rider drop-off and pick-up;
• Reconfiguration, seal coating and restriping of the front parking lot; and,
• Installation of new LVT flooring at the main entrance.
Dr. Hightower praised Chief Support Services Officer Bill Sebring and his team, including Facility Construction Lead Supervisor Steve Werner, who headed up the project, and Facility Maintenance Director Ronald Barnes.
“We planned hard on the front end, and it really paid off,” Mr. Sebring said, thanking his Support Services team, subcontractors and all CCSD Divisions for their support.
The gym was repainted and the floor refinished to match the Cherokee HS main campus.
Facility Construction Lead Supervisor Steve Werner explains how the Office of Support Services handled the project in-house and was able to move quickly to complete the needed changes over summer break. In this image, you can see the new interior paint colors, flooring and LED lighting that welcome students, staff and visitors at the main entrance.
School Board members, from left to right, Patsy Jordan, Vice Chair Mike Chapman, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Hightower, Kelly Poole and Chair Kyla Cromer review a classroom in Cherokee North. Appropriately sized furnishings and fixtures are now in place, as is new classroom technology.
Cherokee HS Principal Todd Miller explains how the former media center at what is now Cherokee North will serve the high school’s growing band program.
The painted rocks given by Canton ES students as welcome gifts for the Cherokee HS administration will be displayed in the school.