Education

Harvard High School awaits locker delivery to complete ‘massive’ renovation project

New locker rooms, training facility expected to open fully in February

Members of the Harvard High School basketball team hang out in a new team room Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, before a basketball game. The new team room is part of a $5.5 million renovation that added new locker rooms, a training room, wrestling room, and a weight and fitness area, along with repurposing the old locker rooms into staff, lounge and work rooms.

The lockers needed to finish an almost $7 million renovation project at Harvard High School have yet to be delivered, but new spaces already are being put to use.

School leaders hope to fully reveal an entirely new locker room, athletic and fitness training space by the end of February.

“I think the most important thing, especially for those students who remember what those old lockers were like – ignored and aged – they’re going to walk into the 21st century,” Harvard School District 50 Superintendent Corey Tafoya said.

“They should expect the very best from us,” he said. “They deserve every bit of a fine facility to make them feel like they’re first class.”

Several years in the making, actual work on the roughly 13,000-square-foot, two-story locker room addition began in May, following approval by the District 50 school board in September 2020.

Things have gone smoothly since then, but pandemic-related challenges with the supply chain have delayed delivery of the lockers, Tafoya said. With no delivery date set, it’s difficult to determine exactly when the project will wrap up, he said.

Still, he said, newly renovated classroom and training spaces are operational. Along with modernizing the school, built in 1921, the project improves the efficiency of the entire athletic department, he said.

Unlike before, the new, larger locker rooms will be adjacent to the gym. The project also includes the addition of a second floor above the locker rooms. New fitness and training areas, classrooms, offices and staff work and team rooms have been added, along with a new hallway, gym entrance and trophy case.

“This project is massive,” Tafoya said during a November video tour on the district’s website. “We’re getting taller here.”

The project grew out of a community engagement process that began about three years ago when school officials walked community and school board members through the high school. The group also went on a bus tour of other area schools. Compared with those schools, all involved saw that Harvard High School was “barely limping by” with its locker rooms and athletic spaces, Tafoya said.

“The whole idea, the origination of it all, really did come from a desire of our students saying, ‘Hey, our locker rooms aren’t very good,’” he said.

He pointed out that the entire project has been paid for without having to go out for a referendum.

“This has all been done with calculated savings over the years, so it could be paid for with district funds,” he said. “That’s something to be proud of.”