COLUMBUS — Dan Keiter and Bryan Kearney are pretty happy with the progress made in the first seven weeks on a $3.35 million project to transform the old Columbus High School into a middle school by the target date of Sept. 1.

“The work is moving very rapidly,” said Keiter, the architect on the project from RVW Inc. of Columbus. “As of May 1, the project is nearly 40 percent complete.”

Kearney, project manager for general contractor B-D Construction, has been organizing the workload of all the subcontractors that are using the 26th Street school’s southeast parking lot as a staging area and storage space for materials.

“B-D appears to be doing a great job of coordinating the work,” Keiter said.

Demolition work and new construction is taking place all over the building, he said.

Kearney pointed to the sky when asked about progress on the new middle school.

“No rain-related delays,” Kearney said.

The middle school’s new fifth- through eighth-grade configuration will have seventh- and eighth-graders on the first floor and fifth- and sixth-graders on the second floor.

Tentative plans call for creating nine more classrooms at the building by the time middle schoolers move in next fall.

Most of the work involves what school officials call “repurposing,” moving walls to reconfigure classrooms to fit middle school educational programming. Changing classroom space will also call for HVAC shifts to fit the new setup.

One of the biggest changes is converting the old high school’s first-floor automotive lab into special education classrooms.

Kearney said work in that area includes adding new walls and putting up a lot of Sheetrock to create three new special education classrooms.

Also on the first floor in the same area, workers will create new STEM (science, technology, electronics and math) classrooms, including drafting, projects and woodworking programs, and renovate the existing welding and metals labs and mechatronics area.

A big change on the second floor is the conversion of the former high school weight room into wellness and fitness classrooms.

Kearney said contractors will turn the existing high school weight room into three wellness classrooms. Workers also built a new floor system along the west side of the competition gymnasium’s concrete bleachers to create a new weight and fitness classroom.

The weight training program for middle school students doesn’t require as much space, the project manager said.

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