The front of Griswold High School is a construction zone as the school works to more than double the size of the gym’s entryway and remodel the bathrooms, the girls’ locker room and the concession stand.

This is the second big project, part of the $1.4 million bond the citizens of the Helix School District passed in 2008. Last year the school added kindergarten and special education classes, costing $341,000.

The gym entrance remodel will cost $560,000.

Before, the gym entrance was a triangle-shaped room, about 20 feet wide on the south end narrowing down to 10 feet on the north end. Built in the 1950s, the bathrooms were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the concession stand was too small and the school’s band instruments had to be stored in cupboards along the walls.

Additionally, the girls’ locker room was small and badly designed. Often, said Superintendent Darrick Cope, the girls just used the boys’ locker room for games.

The remodel will double the size of the girls’ locker room and rearrange it so the lockers are along one wall, the toilets are tucked out of sight of the door and there will be more than one electrical outlet.

The remodel for the front of the gym will more than double its size and create a rectangle-shaped lobby.

It will double the size of the concession stand, create a storage room for the band, build a new womens’ restroom and make both the womens’ and mens’ restrooms ADA compliant.

The lobby will also host a long trophy case, acting as a focal point between the two doors leading from the lobby to the gym. The trophies are being stored in the basement, Cope said, including a 1927 basketball trophy.

The remodel also will build an entrance closed off from the lobby — which will keep cold air out of the gym in the winter. The doors will be to the north and south, rather than the west (as it was before) which is the prevailing wind direction, Cope said.

W.C. Construction of Walla Walla started work in September and plans to be finished by the beginning of March.

In the meantime, students and the public will enter the gym from a side door.

Construction won’t be done until after basketball season, and likely after the annual crab feed. But Cope is happy to get the job done.

This leaves only one item on the list of renovations funded by the bond. The district plans to finish paving the parking lot and pave the bus lane. Cope hopes to do this next spring or summer, and possibly to partner with the city which needs to pave some streets near the school.

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