01/15/13 — Wayne Country Day expansion on schedule

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Wayne Country Day expansion on schedule

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 15, 2013 1:46 PM

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Wayne Country Day School Headmaster Todd Anderson walks around the construction site as he goes over specifics of the new high school being constructed at Wayne Country Day late last week. The construction project at the school is currently in the second stage of a three-phase, $5 million dollar project to renovate the existing school and construct a new high school facility. The last stage of the project will see a new auditorium, a second gym and a cafeteria built.

Excitement continues to gain momentum at Wayne Country Day School, building upon the 2011 announcement of the $5 million capital campaign and three-phase expansion that will double the 40-year-old school's size.

Efforts started with basic renovations and remodeling that were completed in time for the start of this school year.

Groundbreaking for phase two was held a year ago, focusing mainly on the high school addition -- six new classrooms, two science labs, visual arts and performing arts classrooms, as well as additional surveillance cameras and an expanded library.

As the school's landscape changes, with walls going up and flooring being laid down, it's an exciting time to be at the school, says Headmaster Todd Anderson.

"The renovation that was completed last year, there's a lot of pride in this place," he said earlier this week. "It's palpable. It's wonderful.

"When they poured the concrete floor, to watch all those early years kids' faces pressed up against the window when they poured that concrete, it's exciting and to see it in the kids' faces, they get it. They know it's going to be their high school."

The current student population in the upper grades already reflects a growth trend.

"The high school is over 100 now, we started this year with 107 (students)," Anderson said. "When I came here in 2005, the high school had 63."

While this phase of the construction, expected to be completed by May, focuses on the high school expansion, it is not limited to that age group.

"Everybody's getting something," the headmaster said. "There's also a new playground, one for the early years, one for the early primary. Ultimately everybody is going to have a new high school."

It's actually long overdue, Anderson said. The current building, while still functional in many ways, was built around 1969-70. Technology and other aspects dictate the need to revamp and update the facilities.

The facility's appearance has not gone unnoticed, particularly by former students, he said.

"During my first six years of tenure, all these alumni would come back and say, 'It looks exactly like it did the day I left,'" he said. "And now, the last two years now, they're all coming back and saying, 'Oh, sure, now you're doing this.' But it's nice."

Such painstaking attention to detail is part of the plan, Anderson said.

"We're doing this first-class," he said. "I would rather cut part of a phase off and wait than to do something half-baked."

And so, aesthetically, the project is taking shape:

* The completed new soccer field, where students have been playing for almost a year and a half.

* Automatic lights that turn on upon entering the locker room.

* A long corridor that will house a "history wall" -- plaques and memorabilia of those who made the school possible.

"Obviously, the school's only a little over 40 years old but as a school progresses and grows, its going to be telling its history," Anderson said. "These things don't happen by accident. It happens because people believe in it."

Adding larger classrooms and science labs, and especially the 3,500 square foot performing arts classrooms are areas the administrator is particularly proud to announce.

"I'm personally excited about the arts because that is one thing that we have really been lagging," he said. "We have always been pretty good in the visual arts but to have a classroom for what it's designed to be used for (is great)."

Mark Beach, with T.A. Loving, is project manager. He said the milder temperatures have allowed the construction to run on schedule.

As representative of a local company, he said their presence on campus has been well-received.

"Seeing the reactions, especially with Todd and the teachers and the kids, they were real excited to see the equipment out here when we started," he said.

The current phase is expected to be finished in May, with the performing arts portion targeted for completion in early August.

"We'll probably be opening school rushing to get occupancy permits for when the curtain goes up for school, because we start in early August, but there's going to be so much excitement, it probably won't matter," Anderson said.