Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Construction Update - May 31, 2016

Posted by Wayne Anderson in General  |  Post a comment

The last week of the school year is now in session. The students are finishing up their last projects and taking their last exams. The teachers are busy grading papers and tests and putting their final student grades into the grade book. Everyone is ready to breathe a big sigh of release and start preparing for a well-deserved break – well almost everyone. This summer will be the time to complete the last major details with the elementary school building project.

The elementary school is in its final stages of completion. As I walk through the building each of the classrooms and work areas are taking shape. Last week they started putting in the wooden gym floor. This process will take about three to four weeks to complete. The elementary school gym will be slightly larger than the current Middle/High School gymnasium. The main playing court will be in the center of the floor; however, when this court is not in use a dividing curtain can be dropped to create two full size practice courts. The bleachers will be located on the eastern side of the gymnasium and are designed to hold about 800 people. The western side of the gymnasium has the stage. The stage is wider and deeper than the stage at the current Elementary School and has built-in storage rooms to hold props, costumes and other equipment. If you look on the south side of the gymnasium, you will notice several windows that allow people to supervise the fitness center. This gymnasium floor can easily hold 500-700 chairs, so the next time you go to one of the elementary performances you should easily be able to find a place to sit.

The classrooms are now each being fitted with their cabinets. Some of the classrooms in the Kindergarten/First grade wing have already got their cabinets installed. The other classrooms have their cabinets in the classrooms, but they are not yet installed. This morning as I was taking a walk through the new building, I noticed that ceiling tiles were being installed in the Kindergarten/First Grade wing. All of the classrooms have the ceiling grids and lights installed, but now the ceiling tiles are starting to be put into the grids. The last thing to be installed in the classrooms is the carpet. Each of the classrooms has a mixture of hard surface tile and carpet. The areas next to the sink and restrooms are tile and the rest of the classroom is carpet. Since the Kindergarten/First Grade classrooms have the cubbies (coat lockers) inside the classrooms; these areas are also tiled. The Kindergarten/First Grade wing should be completed around the middle of June. Once the wing is completed, the next two weeks will be used to do a thorough room-by-room examination to make certain that everything was done according to specifications. Once this is completed, the rooms will be cleaned and then cleared to allow the district to start delivering and installing the new furniture.

The Second/Third and Fourth/Fifth Grade classrooms wings are about two weeks behind the Kindergarten/First Grade wing. It is expected that they will be completed around the first week in July. Each of the classrooms wings has a different accent color: the Kindergarten/First Grade wing has a “blue” accent wall; the Second/Third Grade wing has an “orange” accent wall and the Fourth/Fifth Grade wing has a “green” accent wall.

Each of our neighborhoods (hallways) is designed to be an educational learning space. These areas are equipped with a portable ActivPanel, whiteboards and tag strips. Each of the classrooms has large windows that look out into the neighborhood so that teachers can send small groups of students into the neighborhood to work on projects, meet with tutors or combine classes for a large group activity. The neighborhood in the Kindergarten/First Grade is slightly smaller than the Second/Third and Fourth/Fifth Grade neighborhoods because their cubbies are located inside the classrooms rather than in the neighborhoods. Each of the neighborhoods has hard surface floors with carpet inserts. We are now in the process of selecting flexible furniture for the neighborhoods that will allow for multiple configurations.

The last areas to be completed will be the commons (cafeteria), fitness center and main entrance way. It is expected that these areas will be completed by mid-July. I am now in the process of meeting with each of the furniture companies to arrange delivery and installation schedules. At this point, I am planning on starting to move new furniture into the building by the third week in July. I expect that it will take about three weeks to have all the furniture delivered and installed. The first week in August is now scheduled for moving the supplies and materials from our current Elementary School to the new elementary school. I expect this process to take about one week. If everything goes as planned (I hope), teachers will be allowed to come into their classrooms around the third week in August. Students will start their new school year on Tuesday, September 6.

I hope that you have been taking the time to examine the weekly construction photos that can be found on our website. It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so these pictures are designed to help show the progress of the building and to give you a glimpse of things to come. Thank you for your interest and continued support of the building project. I am certain that you will be impressed when it is all completed.

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