Moving along

Despite a year of disruptions, distractions and noise, Big Spring High School officials are keeping their eyes on the finish line.With construction wrapping up on four new elementary campuses, the last remaining part of Big Spring Independent School District’s $60 million bond project is renovation at the high school. As part of the bond package, the school will receive a new roof, updated science labs and a remodeled fine arts wing.Work began on the high school renovations this past school year and will continue for a good portion of the next one, which begins Aug. 27. Despite having to figuratively rub shoulders with work crews, however, Principal Mike Ritchey said students and staff are dealing well with the situation.The renovation of the science labs, in particular, caused quite a disruption during the past school year. While renovation was ongoing, the entire wing was sealed off, sending students and teachers scurrying for classroom space.Classrooms and makeshift labs were set up across the campus, Ritchey said.“We had science classes in the construction technology department, our mult-media room, just whatever we could find,” Ritchey said. “We had to be very creative in the utilization of our classroom space.”The good news is that this particular headache should be a thing of the past. Ritchey said he expects the remodeled science wing to be ready when the new school year starts.“It’s going to be nice,” he said. “Some of the classrooms will be bigger and, instead of having classes and labs in the same room, we’ll have separate labs for biology, chemistry and physics. And, of course, all the equipment and hardware will be up-to-date.”Installation of the campus’ new roof also is winding down, although Ritchey expects work to bleed over into the new school year.“There’s been quite a lot of noise (associated with the roof project), so we’ve had to deal with some disruptions in that regard,” he said. “But the staff has been pretty positive about it. They know what the end result will be — no more leaks.”The final piece of the high school renovation puzzle — upgrading the fine arts wing — began this summer and is expected to last until he spring semester. When complete, the wing will boast an expanded band hall and remodeled choir and theater department areas.Until it is completed, however, music and drama instruction will have to be as flexible as it was in the science department last school year.“The good news for the band, at least, is that in the fall, most of their focus will be on marching, so they’ll be outside a lot, weather permitting,” Ritchey said. “Once they have to go inside, however, they’ll have to rehearse in the auditorium.” Once all the renovations are complete, Ritchey believes the community at large will approve of the work done at the campus.“I think it will naturally enhance pride in our school, not only from students and teachers, but the public,” he said. “When the public visits our school … they’ll be able to see exactly what their money bought.”Contact Staff Writer Steve Reagan at 263-7331 ext. 235 or by e-mail at