INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - For football sectional semi-finals, Southport High School is hosting duties for one of the marquee matchups in The Zone.
But, that's nothing new to the school, which has been in a zone for months – a construction zone.
Southport is in the middle of a massive renovation. Tens of millions of dollars worth of improvements are adding classrooms, labs, cafeteria space, athletic facilities, music rooms, and other upgrades.
The work is more of a remodel of existing space than an addition of new buildings. Construction crews are overhauling the school at the same time students are using it, so the task for students is to keep learning while obeying the "Keep Out" signs that dot the hallways.
It's happening through some intricately-planned major moves.
For instance, when students returned from fall break in October, many went to completely new classrooms. What used to be an open-air courtyard is now a building-within-a-building, featuring two stories of modern classrooms.
"There is a lot of window space in these," explained school Principal Barb Brouwer. "Teachers used to teach in private practice they closed the door and went to work. That's no longer happening."
Project planners say there are similar touches throughout the project. They wanted to make sure the renovation was about more than merely extra space. They wanted to offer the kind of environment that can support education of the future.
"I am really excited. I think it's a lot better," said senior Anna Laws.
She's helping teachers unpack supplies in the large new biology and chemistry lab. Instead of lab space in individual classrooms, teachers will now bring their classes to a centralized lab that several classes can use at the same time.
"No desks or backpacks to be in the way. Just lab tables and storage. This gives us plenty of room to do the labs and spread out a little bit more,” she said.
For Laws and many of the upperclassmen at Southport, the construction is the payoff of work they and the school's teachers and administrators first started a few years ago.
As a younger student, Laws helped in the campaign to pass a referendum to pay for upgrades to Southport and other schools in the district.
In the 2011 election, while other districts lost votes that would have provided more money, voters in Perry Township said "Yes.”
Looking back two years later, Laws says, "I think it is truly amazing that all of the work that was put in made this happen."
Senior Jesse Roller is helping to make sure the work is not forgotten. He's one of several members of the school newspaper staff documenting the changes through images and words.
Roller says he understands that his updates in The Journal school paper may someday serve as a historical record of the year spent in school and a construction zone.
To read more of the student coverage click here.
"I really wanted to capture the moment because it's a pretty big turning point and it's the entire community that's involved with this," Roller said. "I mean if this is what the school is going to be doing? I'm pretty excited to see what else is in store."
The work will continue through the school year. When it wraps up, administrators say they hope to hold a community day to show off the upgrades and thank all of the voters who approved the funds for the project.
The Boone County Sheriff's Office says a crash closed State Road 39 on Friday morning.
A family of five was uninjured after a house fire on the city's east side early Friday morning.
Police dispatchers in Morgan County say a crash closed both directions of Mann Road on Friday morning.