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NEW HHS TO OPEN A YEAR EARLIER THAN PLANNED

Architect Maggie Carnavale speaks to commissioners as David Berry, John Mitchell and Brian Walker look on. Architect Maggie Carnavale speaks to commissioners as David Berry, John Mitchell and Brian Walker look on.

In a huge boost in the schedule, Hendersonville High School renovation-construction is now on course to be done by August 2022 — 11 months earlier than the original end date.

The accelerated plan the county's construction manager and other officials worked out with contractor Vannoy construction, the School Board and others also will save $500,000.

"Without everybody's cooperation we wouldn't be where we are," the county's construction manager, David Berry, told the Henderson County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday morning.

While there the Covid-19 pandemic brought misery and no silver lining "but in regard to construction of Hendersonville High School it kind of has been," Berry said. "This whole project has been not only the most expensive for Henderson County, it's been the most difficult and without everybody's cooperation we wouldn't be where we are."

In an era where cost overruns and construction delays in government projects are common, the Hendersonville High School project stands out as a shining exception. The speedup means that the senior class that begins school in August 2022 will become the first graduating class in the new school — in June 2023, instead of the Class of '24.

"We'll be delivering this school to the School Board a school year early to allow the young adults that would not have had this opportunity" to enjoy the finished facility, County Manager Steve Wyatt said.

"This is beyond extraordinary ... that students are going to benefit from this, taxpayers are going to benefit from this," schools Superintendent John Bryant said. "It is truly a partnership and one that we're so very proud of."

Wyatt credited Berry, business and community development director John Mitchell, Bryant and Carl Taylor with the school system and Brian Walker and the Vannoy team for coming up with the idea for the speedup and drafting a plan to make it work.

"These people have done amazing work together," Wyatt said. "So amazing it took a couple months for them to convince me that this was real. To be clear, we're talking about delivering this school a school year ahead of schedule at a half a million dollar savings to the taxpayer. All of these gentlemen deserve our thanks, because this just doesn't happen."

Commissioner Daniel Andreotta noted that the class of 2023 has a lot to celebrate today.

"Not only does a senior class get to graduate out of this new facility that wouldn't have gotten to. That means there is now a graduating class in the future that gets four years in this state-of-the-art new school instead of just three. That's phenomenal."