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New school year, new look

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Additional classrooms being added to the west wing of WHES.
Cafeteria improvements have been completed at Watt Hardison Elementary.
One of the improved hallways at Watt Hardison Elementary.

Although Watt Hardison Elementary School is undergoing construction of new additions to the school and renovations to other areas, educating the students is in full swing.

The Sumner County school system began the $3.2 million construction project during the summer. The project will include seven new classrooms, new boys and girls restrooms, an expanded and renovated media center, renovated corridors, dining area, gym, restrooms, renovated CDC suite, new parking facilities, improvements in site drainage, and upgrades to electrical and mechanical at the building. The project will add 8,906 square feet to the building.

Principal Phyllis Gilman said, "We are excited about the renovations. Watt Hardison Elementary is one of the oldest schools in the county, and the improvements were needed."

Some adjustments have been made with the library, physical education, and guidance programs, while construction is going on in those areas. These three related arts teachers are going to the classrooms to do their instruction.

Gilman said, "These related arts teachers are teaching. It just doesn't look the same."

The gym renovations are expected to be completed by fall break. The entire project is expected to be completed by February, 2018.

Portland area school board member Glen Gregory said, "They are making progress on this long project. I would say that the inside is 85 percent through. Now they are working on the outside laying bricks. The project seems to be going well."

The projects at WHES are a part of the $72 million in projects to upgrade schools in the system. The funding comes from the 2014 tax increase passed by the Sumner County Commission. The school system was able to improve schools in all areas of the county, as a result of the tax increase.

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