Franklin — On Tuesday, Franklin High School students will arrive to find an expanded parking lot, a new auditorium and a new main entrance and office area.
Construction has been feverish the past few weeks as contractors from CG Schmidt have busily completed the first phase of the high school's remodel in time for the beginning of the school year.
"It's kind of like that show 'Extreme Makeover,'" said Steve Benitez, CG Schmidt construction superintendent, during a tour Aug. 21. "This building is changing by the hour."
The project has utilized about 150 workers, Benitez said.
Construction began in the summer of 2013 for two facilities — an academic addition and a performing arts auditorium — that were approved by referendum in 2012.
The academic addition, a new corridor for English and social studies classes, has large windows that face South 51st Street, peering out across the city of Franklin with the city water in the distance.
"I know I wouldn't be able to concentrate in here," Benitez joked during the tour. "This view would just distract me too much."
The Saber Center for the Performing Arts auditorium was designed by Eppstein Uhen. The new auditorium will seat 850 people and includes additional corridors for band, choir and music classrooms.
The district is on schedule with the project for the beginning of school, but construction will continue throughout the year in "Area C," Benitez said.
Area C will include the school's art department, television studio and two "commons" areas.
The upper and center commons areas will contain furniture, lecture areas and other accommodations "very similar to that of a college campus," Benitez said.
Football field update
Franklin High School will host its first home football game on Friday at its newly-remodeled Saber Stadium, which has also been under construction.
The $2.3 million Saber Stadium Project — offset by about $850,000 raised by a parent-led campaign — will include a new artificial turf field, a softball field and a regulation track.
Everything needed to host the home game, such as concessions, lighting and seating, are already in place, said Meghan Dade, communications coordinator. The track will be surfaced this spring, in time for the season.
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