By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — HOLLEY — The $30 million capital campaign at the Holley Central School District will still be in-progress when the Class of 2013 graduates this summer, but seniors and all other students are benefiting as signs of improvement multiply across the Lynch Road campus.
In the high school, new science classrooms shine on the north end of the building and a new, modern cafeteria does the same on the south end.
For the students in Dan Orbacker’s chemistry and physics classes, and those taking earth science, biology and the hands-on technology classes, the changes are like night-and-day. Orbacker’s classroom at the end of school is bathed in natural light, as large windows frame the lab stations lining the windows.
“(The big differences?) Windows, I never had them before,” Orbacker said. “I love it, it’s a fantastic location, much better.”
Science teachers got to chose whether their rooms would include lab tables as desks or as stations lining the walls around regular desks. In the on-the-wall rooms, gas jet, sinks and safety items like an emergency shower are all prevelant.
“I have a classroom and a lab section, it’s really been great,” Orbacker added. “My students love it.”
Across the way, the lunch periods had ended, but Superintendent of Schools Bob D’Angelo beamed as he showed off both the brand new lunch-line area and the bright — there’s a theme — dining area featuring floor to ceiling windows.
In addition to providing multiple lines for selecting food and an expansive time for eating, conversations and homework, D’Angelo said the new facility has brought a warmer atmosphere due to pride from students.
“It’s much more orderly,” D’Angelo said. “With the new cafeteria, students have behaved much better because it looks better.”
Those glimmering bookends are still connected by a hallway with ongoing work visible in the ceiling, floor and walls, but the completed changes now outweigh what’s left. D’Angelo said that 70 percent of the work was completed during a walkthrough late last month.
“Turner (the firm overseeing the project) has done a great job,” said D’Angelo, who added that the good weather helped speed the work. “The site work is all done.”
Brian Paszt, the project superintendent for Turner Construction, said the current phase of the project is the addition of required “light courts,” which are hallways between classes with windowed ceilings. After the Christmastime break, the school’s library will be relocated to a larger area.
Although the final stage to be undertaken will be the front lobby, the entrance to the school is an amazing transformation. Just laying out a new parking lot and landscaping has, with the visible building improvements, made a 45-year-old building look fresh.
Outside the building, an all-weather track, which will be used for spring track and field, is laid. Holley will host it’s first home track meet next spring, with football taking the field on the new turf in 2014.
Further down the western end of campus, a two-pump fill-up station with underground fuel tank and a garage where bays will allow buses to be washed and fixed indoors and on-site is continuing to progress. Paszt said the garage, which will also include the transportation department offices, will be completed in the spring.
Transportation Director Fran Gaylord sees the new facility as something that will lengthen the life of the district’s fleet.
“Hopefully by keeping the salt off they can last longer,” Gaylord said. “They’ll be cleaner, we care take pride in them.”
Pride is a much-desired side effect of this kind of large-scale investment, but it was one that’s apparent in Holley.
“It’s made an unbelievable difference,” D’Angelo said.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.