Glenvar High School was decked in green and gold, even more so than usual, on Friday, May 20, for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating the school’s completed renovations.
Students and school board members gathered around the main entrance as a handful of speakers took to the podium, recalling anecdotes from the two-year renovation process, and expressing their excitement for the future.
The school, first constructed in 1966, recently underwent a $28 million construction project, which included adding larger, updated classrooms and offices, a new gymnasium, library, cafeteria, science wing and auditorium, as well as a new entrance, which is tinted green and gold when the sun hits the stained-glass window panels just right.
The former entrance has been turned into the school’s science wing. Classroom updates include new desks and aesthetics, as well as digital and technological updates. A greenhouse has also been added for environmental and ecological studies. Other additions include lounge areas and an outdoor dining space, which will be monitored by teachers. Bathrooms at the school have been updated as well to be in compliance with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
“As a parent, I’m excited to know that education is a priority in our valley, and this renovation is symbolic of our mission–learning for all– whatever it takes,” said Catawba District School Board Member Tom McCracken. “I’m also excited as an educator. As a past teacher, I’ve been in many school buildings, researched many learning environments, and walked through many outdated halls that hindered, not helped, the education of our students.”
“This is a state-of-the-art groundbreaking facility in logistics and technology that inherently creates an environment conducive to learning, enabling our educators the ability to teach holistically, reaching the diverse learning styles held by our student body demographic,” he added.
Principal Joe Hafey, who graduated from the school in ’74, said that the most exciting part for him is wrapping up the project.
“We have had construction people here continuously for the past two years,” Hafey said. “Having the opportunity to roll into the parking lot in the morning and not have to avoid bulldozers, front end loaders and dump trucks, and to have all of our asphalt in place and not be going through the mud pit every day is great.”
“What’s even better is we have a great learning space for our teachers and our kids,” he added. “We’re ready to get back to just teaching and learning, and not worrying about the daily dynamics that we were having to face,” Hafey said.
An open house was held for the public on Sunday, as hundreds of Highlanders, new and former, took to the halls. Yearbooks were on display in the library, as graduates reminisced about the old days, amused.
Current students joked about the renovation. Classes were displaced to trailers during the process, and students recalled occasional warnings to watch out for skunks on their way class. However, according to Glenvar senior Kelly Devons, who spoke to the crowd on Friday, their experiences have only brought them closer as a community.
“Plus, it wasn’t bad getting some fresh air and sunshine throughout the day,” Devons said with a smile.
“Our kids are great,” Hafey added. “Because they are able to work within the boundaries, they are given some freedoms. It’s almost like a collegiate facility.”