Rutherford High School is getting a facelift and some much needed updates. Half-Cent Sales Tax dollars will soon be at work in some buildings.
"It's like wee, new stuff! We're really happy about it, but more than that, if the students are proud of their school, they will want to come and learn," said Principal Coy Pilson.
Pilson said the $7 Million renovation project includes replacing old air conditioning units with a central chiller plant and updating the classrooms and cafeteria.
"Our gym is a showplace. Our auditorium is a showplace. Our cafeteria will be a showplace, and our classrooms will be state of the art, and I'm looking forward to it," said Pilson.
However, renovating buildings built in the early 1960's comes at an extra cost.
"Anything that was utilized to build facilities during that particular time, nine times out of ten had asbestos fibers in it," said Dr. John Haley, Director of Operational Support Services for Bay District Schools.
Haley said buildings eight and ten will need more than $100,000 of asbestos abatement work. However, students and teachers have never been at risk of exposure.
"It's not dangerous nor is it hazardous unless it is disturbed," said Dr. Haley. "Once it is disturbed, you can get into a predicament where the materials could conceivably be harmful, but as long as they're not disturbed or anything of that particular nature, or kids are not around it, then you really don't have a problem."
Dr. Haley and Principal Pilson agree the renovation and abatement are worth every penny.
"This is our tax dollars at work, and we want people to come by this area and see that I'm glad to spend a dollar here and there if it's going to make a contribution of that particular nature you know to Bay District Schools," said Dr. Haley.
The District has an Operation and Management Plan for asbestos materials in place to keep everyone in the schools safe.