Faculty Tours the New Easley High School
Easley High School Principal and three faculty members got a chance to take a look at their school's new home Thursday morning.
Construction on the new Easley High School is on track to be completed by the end of November and the school's faculty couldn't be happier.
"It's awesome, it's a beautiful place and it's well designed," said Easley High School Principal Danny Merck. "I think students for a long time are going to enjoy it."
Merck along with Social Studies teacher Shannon Sharkey, Gettys Middle School Band Director Patrick Maninieri (formerly Easley H.S. Band Director) and Head Football Coach Chad Smith got a chance to visit the new facility Thursday morning.
"I was just amazed at the scale of it," Sharkey said. "It's going to change the whole climate.
"I am so excited," Sharkey said. "I have a huge classroom here and I love my classroom, but because it was so old when they fitted it for technology they had to go wherever there was an outlet or an internet hookup."
The new school is designed with technology and media needs at the forefront to aid with instruction.
The new 268,105 square foot building sits on about 163 acres along Pelzer Highway in the southwest end of the city. The new school is costing the county approximately $36.8M according to the School District of Pickens County website.
"I was taken aback by how nice everything is," Maninieri said. "For our kids to see this incredibly nice setup is going to be just incredible for them."
Maninieri was part of an advisory board that made suggestions for the new building during the planning stage.
"I was able to sit down with the contractors and give them a laundry list," Maninieri said. His suggestions were targeted as the ideal setup for the students and faculty, if money were not an issue.
"Obviously there were some cuts that for financial reasons they had to take out," Maninieri said. "But it's very neat to see the thought process in my mind of what we were going for to actually be stone and brick, and being able to walk around inside of it."
Coach Smith said he's looking forward to being in a facility where he won't have to take time from coaching to make repairs or clean up from water damage. Smith doesn't expect the new facilities to have any impact on his players because of his expectations for them to play at their best, no matter the conditions.
"At Easley we have kids work hard and they'll play just as hard out there in a cow pasture as they will on a nice field," Smith said. "I don't really think a nice facility goes into wins and losses."
However, Smith did say that the new facility would give the teams new opportunities.
"A 4A high school should have 4A facilities and right now we don't have that," Smith said. "We can now host events that we weren't able to host before."
The county is currently building five new schools, two of which are set to be completed by the start of the 2011-12 school year. The county has delayed the start of the school year to Sept. 6 to accommodate the opening of Liberty and Pickens High Schools.
Easley High School students will start the year in the old building and will move to the new school starting in January 2012.
For Maninieri, the move to the new high school will be bittersweet having been part of the planning stages, but said he's happy for the students.
"I'm glad that I'm able to work with Dr. Merck to help with the transition and see everything happen," Maninieri said. "Hopefully the building that's been designed will be what they need."
Merck, who attended Easley High School as a student, also said the move will be bittersweet.
"There's a lot of pride in this place," Merck said. He hopes the students will find the same pride in the new facility.
"Is it perfect? No. No house is perfect," Merck said. "But it's a huge improvement."
Residents can follow the progress of the construction on all of the new schools on the School District of Pickens County website.