Site manager Scott Conaway leads Whitley County Consolidated Schools’ Jake Hoag, left, and Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor through the halls of the new Columbia City High School. See more photos in this week’s edition.

COLUMBIA CITY — While the rest of the world was put on hold over the past few months due to the coronavirus, crews held a steady pace on the construction of the new Columbia City High School.

Though the virus threat remains, so far progress has continued and the building is expected to be open to students in August for the 2020-2021 school year.

“It has not affected construction, but it could have — and it still could,” Whitley County Consolidated Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia O’Connor said.

When many places were closing in March, Skillman Corp., the construction company, made adjustments, such as having workers wear masks and distance themselves as much as possible. School construction is considered an essential service, but some of the companies that were supplying items were delayed.

“We had a couple of companies that were shut down in other states and we were concerned that would hold us up, but it didn’t,” O’Connor said.

For example, the auditorium chairs were coming from a company in Michigan, and they were not able to be delivered during the shut-down.

“Then things opened up, and before we knew it, the chairs were here,” O’Connor said. “There were a couple of those things, but nothing that kept us from progress.”

Overall, O’Connor is excited about the progress.

“I’m really happy with the way things are turning out,” O’Connor said. “I’m loving all the finishings and I can’t wait to see all the furniture when it’s in. I’m very pleased with how things are turning out. Our architects and contractors have done really high-quality work. I’m hopeful that the community will be pleased.”

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