Tuesday, June 18, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

ABSS nearing completion of bond projects


Alamance-Burlington school officials say that the projects funded by the $150 million bond package that voters approved in November 2018 are nearing completion.

ABSS assistant superintendent Dr. Todd Thorpe briefed school board members on the progress of the bond-funded construction and renovations late last month.

The largest bond project, the $67 million new high school (now named Southeast High School) at 3368 South N.C. Highway 119, near the Honda Power Equipment Manufacturing plant in Swepsonville, is currently under construction and targeted for completion in the spring of 2023.


- Advertisement -

Cummings High
Construction on $10.8 million in renovations at Cummings High School began in July 2021 and is targeted for completion by January 2023. That project consists of structural and safety renovations throughout the high school, as well as an expansion of the lobby in an adjoining building that houses the auditorium.

[Story continues below photo.]

Construction on $10.8 million in renovations at Cummings High School, currently targeted for completion early next year, remains ongoing. Pictured is the fenced-off area leading into the auditorium at Cummings High School. The restrooms have been renovated with epoxy floors and subway-style tiled walls, and new awnings and safety enhancements were completed this summer.

As of late August, the contractor had replaced all of the windows in the stairwells inside Cummings High School to improve structural support. A new safety vestibule was also installed before school started on August 29. The restrooms have been renovated with epoxy floors and subway-style tiled walls. New awnings were also installed this summer along the front sidewalk leading into the main classroom building.


Graham High
Graham High School will also receive $7.6 million in upgrades to existing buildings as part of the 2018 bond package. Those upgrades include: installation of security cameras; new windows and blinds; new flooring; restroom renovations; roof repairs; electrical, heating, and air-conditioning repairs; sidewalk repairs; and new sidewalk canopies.

This summer, crews installed a brick wall around the front perimeter of the Graham High School campus, as well as a building to house a fire truck used by the fire academy.

[Story continues below photo.]

Graham High School will receive $7.6 million in upgrades that include new security cameras; new windows, blinds, and flooring; and other structural upgrades. This summer, crews installed a brick wall around the front perimeter of the Graham High School campus, as well as a building to house a fire truck used by the fire academy. Below are the new shop and welding lab, also at Graham High School.

“The walls were installed at Graham, Eastern, and Western,” Thorpe elaborated for The Alamance News Wednesday. “Security walls were installed at the Florida-style campuses for additional safety.”

The welding shop was also renovated, as were a number of classrooms, before the 2022-23 school year began, Thorpe said last month during his update to the school board.

Part of the proceeds from the 2018 bond package are being used to fund security enhancements at all ABSS schools, to include key-card entry systems and security vestibules, Thorpe confirmed for      in late May of this year. As of this spring, security vestibules – which provide an extra layer of protection against a school shooter or some other threat – had been installed at seven ABSS schools, while five schools were under contract, and 11 schools were in the design phase, Thorpe told the newspaper in May.


Eastern High
Construction of an $11.6 million expansion to Eastern High began in June 2021 and is estimated to be complete by early next year.

As of the beginning of the current school year, ABSS had installed a more prominent front entrance and had begun work on a new classroom, safety vestibule, and a conference room. A security wall has been installed around the perimeter of the Eastern High School campus, along with new awnings and handicap-accessible sidewalks.

The Eastern High School expansion will add a total of 7,618 square feet of building space, including a larger cafeteria; construction of six new classrooms and a resource room; school safety improvements; and electrical and structural upgrades to existing buildings.


Pleasant Grove Elementary
Work on $6.5 million in structural upgrades to Pleasant Grove Elementary School is currently underway. The renovation at Pleasant Grove includes: installation of new windows; bathroom renovations; repairs to the canopy leading into the main entrance to the school; HVAC upgrades; new cabinetry, electrical panels, and LED lighting; and replacement of the gym floor, as well as other flooring in the school, part of which dates back to 1929.

[Story continues below photo.]

Crews were on site at Pleasant Grove Elementary School two weeks ago, installing variable refrigerated flow units for the HVAC units. Other repairs completed before the school year started in August include renovation to the front entryway and walkway canopy; new lighting throughout; and modernized bathrooms.

Thorpe told the newspaper Wednesday that crews are on site Pleasant Grove Elementary School this week to install variable refrigerated flow units for the HVAC units.

In the meantime, new LED lighting has been installed throughout the elementary school, and renovations to the restrooms and entryway were completed before school started, according to Thorpe. He has not yet given school board members a timeframe for completion of all of the work at Pleasant Grove, due to ongoing supply chain disruptions and subsequent equipment delays.


South Mebane Elementary
Construction of an $8.4 million addition at South Mebane Elementary School – to provide 12 new classrooms and a new kitchen, as well as other structural upgrades – was completed in August 2021.


Southern High
Construction on a $20.7 million expansion of Southern High School – the largest renovation project being funded by the 2018 bond package for ABSS – began in June 2021 and is targeted for completion in December of this year.

[Story continues below photo.]

The $20.7 million expansion of Southern High School, targeted for completion in December 2022, includes construction of a new two-story classroom building that’s on track to be complete by the end of this month.

The plans for renovating and expanding Southern High School called for demolition of two existing classroom buildings, with 16 classrooms as well as restrooms, and construction of a two-story classroom building that’s nearly complete. The project scope also includes construction of six classrooms and labs; three resource rooms; a cafeteria expansion; and renovations, including new restrooms, throughout existing buildings.

Thorpe told members of a joint county and school system “oversight committee,” charged with overseeing the progress on the bond projects and other facility repairs and renovations, two weeks ago that ABSS is hoping to receive the final certificates of occupancy for Southern and Western High schools this month.

“We completely redid the front entrance at Southern,” Thorpe told school board members last month during his update on the bond projects. Crews also “replaced all of the awnings in 10 weeks,” and lockers were removed to provide more space in the hallways. “They look five feet wider and clean,” Thorpe told the board.

Thorpe went on to say that “the cash bar that took up half of the cafeteria” had been removed and crews “kind of merged the old cafeteria with the new.”


Western High
A 7,618-square foot, $12.4 million expansion at Western High School began in June 2021 and is currently targeted for completion in January 2023. That project consists of an expansion to the cafeteria; six new classrooms and two “resource rooms; restroom renovations; as well as heating/air, structural, and safety improvements throughout the school.

As of the beginning of the current school year, a new sidewalk and awnings had been installed at the front entrance into Western High School. New floors, stalls, and tile walls had been installed in the bathrooms, while the cafeteria expansion was nearing completion, Thorpe said.


Williams High
Construction of $4.6 million in upgrades at Williams High School, the smallest project to be funded by the $150 million bond package that voters approved for ABSS in 2018, is also on target for completion by the end of this year, according to Thorpe.

[Story continues below photo.]

New auditorium seating at Williams High School.

The upgrades at Williams include: school safety improvements; renovation of “multi-restroom facilities” with new plumbing, fixtures, tile, and partitions; fresh paint throughout; installation of new cabinetry, flooring, and windows; and new restrooms and seating for the auditorium, as well as structural repairs to the exterior auditorium stairs.

Must Read

Pro tennis player trains in Burlington, joins in youth practices

By Bob Sutton Special to The Alamance News Professional tennis player Leo Vithoontien has been training in Burlington and he’s happy about that. So is Burlington...