Even as students sat down to take final exams at Our Lady of Mercy High School in June, work began on a major renovation project.
Work is under way to convert seven third-floor classrooms into four high-tech science labs, add a weather station with a high-definition camera to the roof of the building, and renovate the middle-school wing and add a computer lab and an art room there.
The $1.5 million project, which was funded by a donation from B. Thomas Golisano, is scheduled to be complete by Labor Day, just in time for the beginning of the next school year.
"It’s a tight construction schedule, but it’s very doable," Mercy’s Principal Terry Quinn said at a renovation launching ceremony June 9.
Students were asked to clean out their lockers prior to the end of the year, and all final exams were given in the school’s two gymnasiums so that construction could begin June 15. Access to parts of the building has been limited throughout the summer.
Crews have been working to install in the science classrooms flame hoods, natural gas connections and safety showers among other equipment, he said. Laptop computers and interactive digital white boards also will be added to help collect and organize data during experiments, Quinn said.
Quinn noted that although seven classrooms will be converted into the four science classrooms, the school will not have fewer classes.
"We are reclaiming some classrooms we haven’t used in the past," he said.
Mercy High School President Suzanne Johnston said renovations have long been needed in the middle-school wing, and noted that the renovated high-school science classrooms will help the school strive for a major goal of its strategic plan: strengthening the school’s math and science curricula.
"We do cherish our tradition of excellence, but at the same time, we do realize our Mercy graduates are facing an increasingly more competitive world," Johnston said.
Meggy Uy, 17, a resident of Greece who will be a senior in the fall, said the planned renovations are exciting, and the new classrooms and equipment are something she is looking forward to using when she takes Advanced Placement biology.
"In this world, science is becoming the dominant force, so it’s encouraging to think that our school is working hard to give us the best opportunities possible," she said.