Bob Hollister locker room presentation

Elanco Superintendent Bob Hollister presents a new locker room design at Garden Spot High School on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.

Eastern Lancaster County School District is one step closer to replacing its high school locker rooms with what the superintendent calls a “ready area,” featuring individual changing rooms and showers, in an effort to boost student privacy and safety.

The Elanco school board on Monday night unanimously approved the design for a projected $2.4 million plan to renovate its locker rooms.

The step forward represents a “huge win” for Elanco students, district Superintendent Bob Hollister said.

“I think the privacy is going to be well-received,” he said.

Privacy has been a major issue of late. Elanco school board members, administrators and residents had debated for months a student privacy policy following community backlash over the district’s decision to allow a transgender boy to use the boys’ facilities at the high school.

Board President Glenn Yoder said the locker room project is about more than one student.

“This is going to be for the good of all students,” he said, adding that he predicts this design will become popular as more school districts evaluate privacy matters.

The design includes four “zones” with a combined 48 private changing rooms and 76 private showers, Hollister said. Each of the showers can also be used to change, so that makes 124 total changing areas.

The four quadrants, which were purposely designed as openly as possible for safety and security reasons, won’t be designated by gender, Hollister said, “although I think there will be a natural selection,” he added.

The design approved Monday was the second iteration of the plan. Another design was scrapped over the summer.

An initial cost estimate was $1 million, but the cost climbed as the district added more plumbing and square footage, Hollister said. It also tacked on a heating and ventilation upgrade, he said.

Money from district’s capital reserve fund should cover the cost of the project, Hollister said.

The district’s 2019-20 budget shows it had $13.5 million in its capital reserve fund. Its total budget was $58.2 million.

Hollister said he hopes to receive bids for the project in February 2020, start demolition in March and finish construction in December.

Garden Spot locker room design by LancasterOnline on Scribd