Walls are coming down at Centennial Arts Academy over Christmas break.
An awaited renovation to the Gainesville school cafeteria will begin Friday afternoon and will be quickly completed before students return to school Jan. 5.
The Gainesville school board approved the renovation budget, not to exceed $35,000, at a meeting called Thursday to expedite the project.
The renovation involves knocking out two rooms that will reconnect to the cafeteria and add room to seat about 150 more students, according to Adrian Niles, school system director of maintenance and operations.
This will allow the school to remove one lunch period, meaning some students won’t have to eat a very early lunch.
School system Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner said arrangements have been made with Centennial Principal Leslie Frierson to ensure those displaced from the rooms will be housed elsewhere.
One of the rooms was used as a “specials” or elective technology room, according to Superintendent Wanda Creel. The 15 Chromebooks and 15 iPads from that room will be utilized in the classroom instead.
The other room was used by English for Speakers of Other Languages, who will also be working with students in the typical classroom instead.
Niles said he has worked with Carroll Daniel Construction to ensure the project will be completed in the two and a half weeks before students return to school.
“One of the hardest things to work through at Centennial was the cafeteria, in the morning and at lunch,” Creel said. “There just was not enough room. This will afford us the opportunity to go ahead and take care of the cafeteria during the holidays, and it will be ready to go when the students come back from break.”