JUNCTION CITY (KSNT) – The new Junction City High School is opening to students as construction continues in parts of the new school. The district said more than 1,500 students are expected to start classes in the new facility on Wednesday.
The new facility is located around 2.5 miles west of the old high school on the northwest edge of Junction City. The nearly 440,000 square foot facility features four academic academies with 15 career pathways.
Students at JCHS are starting two weeks later than the rest of the district due to construction delays. Vice President of SJCF Architecture Malcolm Watkins said they prioritized classrooms in order to get kids back in school.
“Construction started with the foundations and really we worked from right here in the middle to the west end of the building where the majority of the classrooms spaces,” Watkins said. “Fifty percent of the classroom spaces for the building are kind of this direction and then finishing up the ones right around the auditorium.”
Watkins said the school is about 75 percent complete. He said finishing touches are being installed on the auditorium and gymnasium, which will be finished around Labor Day. The rest of the athletic facilities are expected to be finished by the end of September.
Construction on the new school started in April 2019. The new school has more than 150,000 more square feet than the previous facility. Chief Operations Officer with Geary County Schools David Wild said that extra space gives them the ability to add features students won’t see in a typical high school.
“A great deal of more space, working environments, collaborative work areas in addition to classrooms, breakout areas, commons areas,” Wild said. “It is much more like a university setting.”
The new school is separated from the rest of Junction City by two highways: US-77 and KS-18. Under state law, students should not be expected to cross a highway to get to school.
Wild said this means nearly 1,000 students qualify for bussing this year. He said it’s not clear how many students will use the service, but the district is increasing bus routes to make up for the change.