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Neal project could be ready for graduation

Escambia County Schools Superintendent John Knott is hopeful the auditorium at W.S. Neal will be complete in time for the May 23 graduation.
On the outside of the auditorium, lights and railing are still needed.
But the new foyer and bathrooms are almost there.
New scones, sound panels adorned with “W.S.N.,” a new sound booth.
New seating has been installed, and the steps leading to the stage have been brought to the center and are much larger than the former stairs.
The stage floor has been refinished, new curtains have been hung and fresh paint has been completed.
Knott said the balcony is still in place and has upgraded seating as well.
“The lighting has been updated and the HVAC system,” he said.
On the sides of the stage, there are greenrooms, and the old band room will now house the choral program next school year.
“My goal is to have graduation there,” Knott said. “It will be pushing it, but I believe it can be done.”
The biggest hold up would be whether or not the railing on the outside of the handicap-accessible ramp can be completed in time.
Additionally, the field house has been upgraded with a weight room area in the renovated old lunchroom, and the previous science building will soon be a girls’ athletics area.
“The building was built in 1997, so we thought it was too good to tear down,” he said. “There will be about 40 lockers, a restroom with shower and weight room for the girls’ athletics.”
It was announced in August that the Escambia County BOE would begin Phase II of a $15 million project. The original project became in October 2018.
The project is estimated to have cost $759,000,” he said.