Ground floor undergoes cosmetic renovations

Signage will be added around the building to replace outdated design like the orange and black entrance to the junior hallway.

NCHS is undergoing major cosmetic renovations as custodians paint the first floor of the building. With students returning to remote learning in November, the custodial staff began painting the atrium in early December. The ground floor is planned to be finished by the end of the school year.

The project was funded from a portion of a $100,000 award won in 2015, during a ‘Celebrate My Drive’ State Farm competition, according to Mrs. Nikki Maurer, Associate Principal. 

With students unable to attend NCHS in person, Maurer thought, “let’s turn something negative… into something positive.” 

Custodians, continuing a long-term project which began last summer in the PE hallways, are working to provide students with “fresh new look” when they return to school, Maurer said.  

Eventually, Maurer said, the goal is to repaint the entire school building — “getting rid of all the nasty walls with goo marks” and repainting them a modern light gray.

Repainting the upstairs is the next phase of the project which Maurer hopes can begin over the summer. 

“The problem with paint,” Maurer said, “is that once you start painting some things, you start to notice how bad a shape other things are in, and they tend to look even worse once you get the coat up.” 

“There’s not as much wall space upstairs, which is helpful, compared to the atrium and the fishbowl,” Maurer said.

The project has been a high priority for years, according to Maurer, as the building hasn’t been repainted, beyond minor touch-ups, since the school first opened in 2003.

During the repainting, nearly all of the school’s murals are being covered up,  including the foreign language mural by the cafeteria entrance and the Iron Pride’ Welcome to NCHS’ near the front door. 

The murals being preserved are those in the stairwells. Members of the Art Honors Society asked to keep them since they were painted relatively recently. The organization will help paint around those murals with light gray.

Maurer hopes to include more clubs and societies in the design and painting of new murals than in previous years. Historically, the Art Honors Society and Interior Design classes have worked on the murals, but Maurer would like to see a more diverse group of students represented on the walls of NCHS like Student Union, Pride Group, Foreign Language groups, and Not in Our School. 

Maurer wants the murals to be “relevant to our students so that they have connections to it.” While painting over past students’ work wasn’t an easy choice, the blank walls offer current students the opportunity to “represents their world right now.”

Along with new murals, the administration is considering placing other forms of art around the building to further transform the school’s appearance.

“It doesn’t even necessarily just have to be painting, I mean we can do some art installations, I’ve seen some of that in schools like framed photography or canvases,” Maurer said, “we have a lot of different options we can move forward with.”

In addition to a new base coat, larger directional signs are going to be hung from ceilings to mark entrances to hallways and stairwells and perpendicular “street” signs above classrooms and offices. 

This will aid “emergency services,” Maurer said. “If we have to call 911 for a staff member that’s hurt or sick… and they’re not necessarily familiar with our building, those directional signs help them move faster.

Additionally, the signage will aid the assistant principals.

“If we do have a security issue or safety concern or investigate a theft,” Maurer said, “having those room numbers sticking out will help us identify things faster, or people faster.”

Anyone interested in painting a mural should email Mrs. Maurer at [email protected].