ALBANY - School is right around the corner and crews are still busy digging up and renovating parts of the Albany school grounds.

"If you come around the south side and look toward the school, it doesn't look like we could start school in a week but things are starting to take shape," Superintendent Greg Johnson says.

The community approved a $33 million referendum last summer for the updates. The district also received an additional $6.2 million in community donations.

Dan DeBaun, WJON

Crews have been adding more parking this summer at the secondary school. Johnson says they've added around 100 additional parking spots. Work also started on the district elementary schools in June.

The project will be finished in three phases. Phase two involves creating secure entrances at each school.

"Everything we can do to secure our sites, even to give school staff an extra minute or two to slow somebody down and give law enforcement an opportunity to get here. We can keep everybody safe," Johnson says.

Phase two should be done in October. The final component of the upgrades involves creating more space and classrooms across the district. More gyms and a new 800-seat auditorium will also be built by the end of December 2017.

Prior projections showed the district growing around 15 percent between 2008-2009 and 2020-2021.

"This secondary school site: right now it's grades 7-12 and in a year it will be 6-12. Once we take those 6th graders out of the elementary schools it will free up probably six additional classrooms in our elementary schools," Johnson says.

Students start class in the Albany Area School District on August 29th.


Dan DeBaun, WJON