Story and Photos by LIBBY CLUETT
GARNER – Garner ISD has just taken possession of it’s “renewed” school building, now bringing two buildings under one roof.
The additions and work were completed by Gallagher Construction Services, of Plano, serving as the construction-manager agent, and BWA Architects, of Dallas, as project architects.
To reach this point, the district seemed to prove the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Things didn’t go easy for Garner on its road leading to beginning the $2.2 million capital improvement project, which addressed security issues, updated wiring and systems, fixed drainage problems, brought classrooms up to state standards and gave the school a facelift.
Initially, the district asked voters to approve an $8 million project, which they didn’t. The district went back to voters with a scaled-down plan to address immediate needs, bringing the price tag near $2 million.
Garner’s request was denied again, but by two votes; however, there were some discrepancies in the elections process. The board again brought the $2 million bond project to a vote and it passed in May 2012.
In early March, Garner dug in to begin the project. Last Thursday, Superintendent Marion Ferguson assumed the keys and the halls were busy with crews of administrative staff and some former students and friends, hired to help move back in.
The end product noticeably improves safety for students, with updated security and fire-suppression systems as well as some other details.
Long before last December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Garner ISD considered many security aspects. After the deadly attack on young Connecticut students, Garner leaders reviewed their plans and designed additional ways to further beef up security.
Among many security features is the front line. When school begins Aug. 26, the doors will remain open for about 30 minutes, perhaps fewer, in the morning. Then, all exterior doors will be locked. Tardy students and visitors will enter through the front door, but will have to be buzzed into the front office, check in with Brenda Reed and be buzzed out through another door, before having access to the school.