Former Clarke County High reborn as elementary facility

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Posted: August 9, 2014

The Winchester Star

Bryce Barcomb, of Caldwell & Santmyer in Berryville, is the project manager and superintendent of the renovation of the former Clarke County High School, which is now D.G. Cooley Elementary School Lower Campus. He is shown in front of the school’s 12,800-square-foot, eight-classroom addition. Renovating the high school building for use as a elementary school called for gutting and remodeling the 90,000-square-foot facility along with a 12,000-square-foot expansion. In all, the project cost $6.2 million, $1 million less than estimated.
D.G. Cooley Elementary School Lower Campus Principal Nicole McGowan is a 1998 graduate of Clarke County High School. She is shown in the library of the renovated school that was formerly Clarke County High School. “It’s an amazing transformation,” she said of the building’s renovations for use as an elementary facility. “It’s now such a warm, welcoming environment that elementary families crave.
First-grade teacher Gary Wymer walks with his daughter Karlee, 3, and carries his 4-month-old son, Brock, in the D.G. Cooley Elementary School Lower Campus building, formerly the high school. His wife, Erin, also teaches at the school. New technology, energy efficiency, natural light and added classroom and storage space are a few of the improvements teachers are excited about as they settle into their new school.
First-grade teacher Keena Wilt arranges her classroom in the new D.G. Cooley Elementary School Lower Campus. Each classroom features an instructional wall with Smartboards as well as dry-erase boards.“We definitely have more technology this year, and there’s lots of storage space to organize,” Wilt said. “I’m excited. I think the kids will like it — just the excitement of having a new school. I think they’ll enjoy it.”
Clarke County Public Schools Clerk of the Works Chuck Hydorn stands in a first-grade classroom at the newly renovated faility. “Light monitors" allow daylight filtered by panels made of material to illuminate the room.
Ken Petersen, of Crown Painting in Hagerstown, Md., applies a fresh coat of paint in the hallway. Clarke County schools first opened what is now the D.G. Cooley Elementary School Lower Campus as a high school in 1987.

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