People who pass by Kennebunk High School on Fletcher Street still see an expansive construction area, but a short drive down the new entrance yields a whole new look, with a large new parking area, bus loop, parent drop-off loop and the new main entrance to the school.
Principal Sue Cressey wants students and parents to know that everyone will drive down the new entrance road near the playing fields and continue to the back of the school where staff members will direct them on the first few days.
The second phase of the $42.8 million renovation project is being completed on schedule and will be ready for students when school starts for freshman on Tuesday, and upperclassmen on Wednesday. The new space includes classrooms, a new kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium and main offices.
“PC Construction told us they would turn over 75 percent of the building to us by the end of the summer, and they did it. Right down to the striping in the parking lot which they’ll be doing this weekend,” Cressey said.
Everyone will enter the school through the new main entrance at the rear of the property.
“We have one secure main entrance now, where we used to have 57 different doors into the school,” Cressey said.
The secure main entrance, windows that open and close, a new heating and ventilation system, and wide, safe stairwells are Cressey’s favorite features to the new space.
The connected flow to the classrooms, the natural light that filters in throughout the school, and seeing her teachers already collaborating in the hallways in ways they never could also make the top of her list.
Every classroom has new moveable tables for student desks that can be easily reconfigured, along with state-of-the-art ergonomic chairs.
The teachers didn’t have to be in the school on Wednesday, but many of them were anxious to set up their new classrooms.
“I was laughing because the cars were streaming in here this morning, and they don’t even have to be here,” Cressey said of her staff.
Spanish teacher Francesca Norton brought her husband along to help organize her new classroom located on the second floor of the new building. Norton was in a portable for the past 17 years, and she’s thrilled with her new space.
Beth Keezer is starting her 36th year at KHS and she couldn’t contain her excitement about the new building and her new classroom.
“I died and went to heaven. Thank you, thank you,” Keezer said to Cressey. “I’m very happy. This is so awesome. I’ve never been in a new school, I just love it.”
Cressey said an open house will be scheduled this fall so community members can tour the new addition.
Work has already begun on the final phase of the 3-year project which includes renovating the 1939 building. Full completion is slated for fall of 2018.