Construction is underway on R.E. Lee High School

Published: Jun. 20, 2019 at 6:07 PM EDT
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Construction crews geared up soon after the final class of seniors graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton to start a long-planned $46 million renovation project, clearing out the old and making way for the new.

Inside the school, locker rooms have been torn down to be redone, half of the art room is under construction, and a new auxiliary gym is being added to the back of the building.

What used to be the tennis courts is the main area under construction right now, and it is being transformed into 100,000 square feet of the new four-story academic building, which will include classrooms, a new library, a STEM lab and an art suite.

Crews are also working on 80,000 square feet of renovations.

"It's really a tight timeline and really kind of ambitious timeline, so this is phase one for this summer," Staunton City Schools Superintenden, Garett Smith said. "During the school year, construction will continue on the new wing."

Once the new wing is complete, classes will be moved there and demolition of the old wings will begin.

The Robert E. Lee name is also being removed from parts of the campus, as the school will officially become Staunton High School on July 1.

The Staunton School Board

to rename Robert E. Lee High School to Staunton High School in November 2018.

The school had previously been changed from Staunton High School to be named in honor of the most well-known Confederate general in 1914.

Its name that stood for 105 years in honor of Gen. Lee will be preserved for the community to remember history.

"Some of them will be in a historical display. That was what the school board agreed to when the decided to change the name," Smith said. "We're honoring the history of all the high schools in Staunton."

Well before the Staunton School Board ever considered bringing a proposal to rename the city's only high school to a vote, they were planning the ongoing overhaul for the aging school, which changed from building a new school to undertaking major renovations. Construction of the new wing is on track


According to the board, the budget for renovations is

many of the associated costs with the name change, especially as far as signage and costs connected to the building itself.

The renovated school will hold about 125 more students than the current school and will include a new bus loop, auxiliary gym, more space in classrooms and more technology in the classrooms.