Originally built in 1923, is expected to be completed days before the school year begins Sept. 16. Some of the new additions include: interactive white boards in classrooms, a new energy- efficient-heating and cooling system, an elevator, science lab, now computer lab and second gym that will feature a stage, weight room and visitors’ locker room.
“Everything will be state-of-the-art,”
This is the second phase of the high school reconstruction. The first came in 2008: a new kindergarten classroom, special education classroom and a remodel of the front of the gym. Helix High School Cope said now was the perfect opportunity for a complete remodeling of the high school.
“I wouldn’t say it was falling apart, but it was to the point that we needed to do something,” Cope said. “We don’t have the money in our budget to do this kind of work.”
“Expenses and interest rates for lengthy construction projects were low and there had not beeb a bond in Helix in more than 50 years “It all kind of looked like this was an ideal time to do it,”
Helix High School All parties involved in this process anticipate growth in quality and interest level for the school. “We’re taking a 1923 building and bringing it up to a 21st century educational standard,” said project manager David McKay. “Tremendous improvements are really going to enhance the educational program that the school district is bale to provide.” McKay works for Salem-based HMKCO, specializing assisting school districts with construction projects. Elnora Baker, 89, taught at Helix HIgh SChool for more than 30 years and now volunteers for the school. Besides excitement about a second women’s restroom, Baker is impressed with the technology coming to the school.
“When I was teaching full-time, the computers had just started coming in,” Baker said. “I’ll tell these children, ‘You don’t know what good things you have.’ Because you didn’t have the computer, you had to go to the library, get the books and look it up.”
The heating, cooling and electrical system is considered an investment. The previous system was old and inefficient, and in the long term the new system will be effective, both in cost and comfort.
“By having better air flow, the kids are more awake — versus what was (at the old school), which wasn’t much of anything,” said Mike Gorman, lead architect from Bend0based BLRB Architects. “It should be a lot less expensive to operate and maintain.”
Cope said the exterior building will not change. It may not be noticeable to passerby, but students will feel the impact of the modern upgrade.