No pain, no gain. Officials at Edison High School, with 32 classroom trailers lining the entire front side of its building, certainly understand that cliché.
"Like any construction, we know we just have to live through its inconveniences, with the promise of better facilities in a few years," said parent Grace McCabe, whose son is a junior at Edison.
Fairfax County has one of the few public school systems in the state that renovate during the school year, said Kevin Sneed, director of the schools' office of Design and Construction Services.
Having just finished about $65 million in renovations at Woodson High School in Fairfax, Sneed is concentrating on his new $48.5 million project at Edison. The improvements will include adding about 50,000 square feet to the 303,000-square-foot school.
Renovations should be completed by late 2012.
"Hardly anybody does what we do," Sneed said of the renovations, which take place during both summer and school year. The alternative to renovating during classes would be to shut the school down during construction, he said. This would mean busing students to another school. It could have also meant that Edison students would have been required to take night classes.
This method, Sneed said, could ruin the high-school experience for many students.
"Our board [of education] has done the right thing. They know the schools need to be renovated. They know we don't have a spare school," Sneed said. "Everyone is invested in doing a great job."
Construction in the schools is planned to have the least disturbance to students and teachers.
"We do these projects in phases," he said. "You finish your football season; we go into that locker room during the winter and fit it."
Sneed said most of the complaints he receives about construction disruptions come from parents.
At least one parent agreed with this assessment.
"From talking to the kids and other parents, the construction eyesore seems to annoy the adults more than the students," McCabe said. "I think we adults can visualize what advantages are in store, but the kids only know what they have experienced. They are more concerned about being with their friends and enjoying the same extracurricular activities they have always enjoyed."
Although many parents say their concerns about construction disruptions have been quelled, others say some disruptions seemed inevitable.
"Most everything my daughter is involved in is still taking place," said Betsy Flanigan, parent of a senior at Edison. "However, she is on the tennis team, and will have to travel to Sandburg Middle School for practice and games. That will be extremely inconvenient, especially given traffic on Richmond Highway at that time of day. I have serious concerns about that, and just don't see it working out very well at all."
Paula Yaya, parent of a senior, said her son has already missed out on some high-school experiences because of the construction.
"[The tradition of] each class decorating a glass case inside the school became each class decorating one student's car," Yaya said. "And the annual fun fair event prior to the homecoming football game on Friday night was eliminated due to lack of space."
"The construction company now uses that area for parking their equipment," said Yaya, adding that many sports teams would be affected by fields being used as parking lots. "That's life. Everyone makes adjustments and somehow it all works."
The end results of renovations will be worth it, said those working on the school's construction team.
Dark hallways will be replaced, said project manager Brady Rauch. The school is also receiving a "cool" roof, which reflects light off the building and helps to lower energy used with air conditioning.
Work on the 50,000-square-feet of additional space began this fall, and should be completed next summer, Rauch said. A new media center, library, science classrooms and administrative offices will also be added.
The school's existing library will be adapted into classroom space. Work on the school's auditorium is scheduled to begin in fall 2010, Rauch said. The gymnasium and cafeteria will be renovated during summer 2012.