Renovation at Abp. Rummel will transform exterior
Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie is in the midst of a $2.5 million renovation to replace exterior walls of the main classroom building and cafeteria.
According to principal Michael Scalco, the “window walls” – the original exterior walls to the school when it opened in 1962 – had steel supports that, over the years, had rotted and caused problems.
“Any time that we would get a hard rain, water would get into the classrooms,” Scalco said, and maintenance had to pull up and Wal-Vac carpet squares. “It was something that needed attention.”
After Hurricane Katrina, Scalco said monies that the school had received from being a transition school allowed Rummel to professionally paint the buildings, caulk windows and “Bondo” some rotted steel panels for the first time in school history. In the past, exterior painting had been done by students in the work-study program under faculty supervision during summers, Scalco recalled.
But, even with the 2007 repairs, the problem with steel deterioration and window leaks exacerbated to the point that it needed to be more seriously addressed. Scalco and Brother Gale Condit, school president, petitioned Archbishop Gregory Aymond and the archdiocesan finance council to approve the repairs. School superintendent Dr. Jan Lancaster, who also noticed the problem, fully supported the renovation.
Done in two phases
Scalco said the steel and glass curtain walls would totally be replaced with tan aluminum infill panels and double-pane tinted glass, no longer requiring interior blinds. Some of the glass panels will be tinted various shades of red, one of Rummel’s school colors, Scalco said. These red panels will have the ability to open, in case of an emergency. Archbishop Rummel alumni who work at Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects in New Orleans completed the design.
The project will be completed in two phases. The classroom building will be renovated first, followed by the cafeteria. Two bays of four classrooms will be done at a time so as not to disrupt classroom learning.
Scalco said the renovations would definitely change how the exterior of the main classroom building will look.
“It will help out with the exterior appearance of the school, and it will stop water from coming in the buildings,” Scalco said. “It will be bright and clean.”
Biggest need tackled first
Scalco said they had hoped to renovate the senior wing building at the same time, but when the bids came in, the cost was higher than expected. The senior building has less leakage than the classroom and cafeteria, he said, and could be a future project.
“We’re going by what needs it the most,” Scalco said.
At the same time, exterior entrance doors and framing will be replaced on the main classroom building and cafeteria.
“We need this,” Scalco said, adding that the last time the school saw new construction was of the Raider Room in 1980. “This is a shot in the arm. It shows something positive is happening.”
Scalco said the money for this renovation is coming from school savings and a loan from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Stallings Construction began the renovation on March 31. Expected completion is mid-December.
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.