The final renovations are underway at Owensboro Public Schools’ innovation campus, and it’s expected to be ready for students to return when the district begins in-person learning in about a month.
The campus, which will house both Owensboro Innovation Academy and Owensboro Innovation Middle (iMiddle), is located at the former Owensboro Middle School South building at 2631 S. Griffith Ave.
“Honestly, the educational aspects of those two entities being in the same building actually adds for a lot of advancements,” said Chris Bozarth, OPS director of maintenance and technology.
On Friday, the OPS Board of Education approved a change order of roughly $180,000 to make final renovations including soffit around the building, cabinetry work for additional rooms, the addition to the outdoor courtyard, moisture mitigation and electrical conduits.
Bozarth said as part of the renovation project, most of the campus upgrades revolved around an electrical upgrade and a new HVAC system, as well as new floors, paint and ceilings.
The renovation was done in phases, as the district utilized half of the building for teaching while the other half was remodeled.
“The way that worked is we moved all the students to one side of the building,” Bozarth said. “We did the renovation to the area closest to Scherm/S. Griffith streets and got that area renovated, and then we moved all the students into that space. It was a continual kind of progression.”
The decision to uproot OIA, previously located at the Centre for Business and Research at 1010 Allen St., was made as OPS board members looked at the cost effectiveness of moving into a building already owned by the school system.
“We rented that building for OIA so we couldn’t do repairs because it wasn’t our building,” Bozarth said.
District officials previously said iMiddle is not an expansion of OIA and is more of a middle school version of the concept. Students who attend iMiddle will not feed into OIA and will have the choice to attend Owensboro High School.