Construction under way at Avery County High School

The front stairs and ramp at Avery County High School have been torn out in this July 22, 2019, photo as construction continues on the $20 million renovation and construction project at the high school which will stretch well into next year.

NEWLAND — Avery County High School will be without heating and air conditioning as school begins due to the ongoing construction project at the school.

The old temperature control equipment has already been removed at the school, though the school is still able to circulate air through the building.

“We’ll try at night to run that system and suck cool air into the building,” Avery County Schools Interim Superintendent Bill Miller said.

The issue was publicly revealed at a special meeting of the Avery County Board of Education on July 23.

The building will be devoid of air conditioning as classes begin on Aug. 7, with the priority being to have the new boiler to heat the school installed before cold weather sets in.

Miller said it is unlikely classes will have to be cancelled at the school due to weather, and the goal is to have the new boiler installed by the end of September.

Miller said there is no board policy on cancelling school based on heat because the district has not needed one.

“Now if we have a 100-degree or 95-degree day we might have to rethink that,” Miller said.

The construction and renovations for the $20 million project will stretch through next year and has absorbed the front parking area at the building, which the district has had to adapt to while the lot is still being used.

The district avoided the concern that there would be issues involving shutting off the old sewer line before the new line could be installed, which will temporarily cut off side access to the building as the new utility line will wrap around the side of the facility. That portion of the project will be performed later in the process.

Currently the front of the building is being transformed to add new classroom space, a new administration suite and a new front entrance to the facility, and eventually a portion of the old pods will be demolished and some interior space will be renovated to include a new media center.

The project is being paid for by the county.

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