School Board members get first look at new King’s Fork High

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

On Monday morning, Suffolk school board member Sharon Harris strolled into King’s Fork High School for the first time. Glancing around the still-under-construction school, she saw incomplete walls, uncarpeted floor, uninstalled bathroom facilities, and small piles of dirt and debris.

That, however, was before she stopped using her eyes. With her heart and her mind, Harris was able to see a future home for hundreds of Suffolk students. A technologically-advanced environment full of innovative computers, a small black-box theater for small plays and large classes, and a tremendous gymnasium and other athletic facilities. A place where Harris herself would have liked to have gone to school.

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&uot;It makes me want to go back!&uot; she said after touring the facility, scheduled to open this September. &uot;We didn’t have things like the computer labs when I was in school. It was absolutely gorgeous.&uot;

Construction manager Jim Yatzeck led the Board members through the more than $40 million high school, designed by Rodriguez, Ripley, Maddux and Motley and built by the S.B. Ballard Construction Company. The project began in March 2002, with construction starting in Aug. 2002.

Now, it’s almost ready to become a home of education for 1,800 Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs, clad in the school colors of burgundy and yellow. The gymnasium’s big enough to hold every one of them (and a few of their friends), and the auditorium and its balcony can fit in more than 800. There’s an elevator to lift students from floor to floor. There’s a huge computer lab and a large courtyard and cafeteria. It’s got a large library, and photo and 3-D art labs, as well as shop and home economics facilities.

Every time board member John Riddick takes his own walk through the school, the Doghouse looks better and better.

&uot;This is a tremendous improvement,&uot; he said. &uot;There’s a lot of educational expansion here.&uot; The Bulldog instructional staff is scheduled to move in on Aug. 15, with the band and athletic teams taking shape around the same time.

&uot;I was very impressed,&uot; said board member Fran Alwood. &uot;It looks like Suffolk is moving to a new level of education. There’s a lot of advanced things that we haven’t had before, like the dark room and the black-box theater. I think the students will be very impressed.&uot;