Construction Progress Edition
As it is summer and I am taking the opportunity to spend a little time with my family I thought I would change things up a bit. For the next several weeks I will target district areas of focus through this weekly communication. This week I will share information about our construction project; next week I’ll focus on the district budget. In two weeks I’ll introduce the aspects of the Center School District academic achievement improvement plan for 2012-13.
Many folks around town are experiencing a feeling of loss because when they glance at the school property on Broadway, the tall building that stood strong and served our community so well since 1919 is no longer there. I feel that sense of loss as well. Though I never attended a single class in the old building all four of my children did. In addition, the last 16 years of my life have been dedicated to keeping the “old man” standing and making sure our community could be proud of what has been going on inside it. I was fortunate enough to be on the road when the towers came down. I have no doubt I would have cried if I had seen it happen in person. Many friends sent and posted pictures and videos of the process so I got to experience the event from afar.
During the master planning session when the district first embarked on the process to pursue a BEST grant the entire community was invited to offer input as to the future course that should be taken with our facilities. Questions such as “should we replace the schools or should we remodel them” were placed on a spectrum and participants had the opportunity to express their opinion by placing a sticker on a poster indicating how they felt about the matter. Other questions such as “if we were to build a new school where should it be,” and “what should the outside covering of the school look like” were addressed as well. Though there was a whole lot more to our master planning process, the building our community sees emerging from behind the rubble that was once our old schools, is exactly what the community expressed a desire for through this master planning process. We decided we wanted a new building because the general consensus was that it would cost far too much to remodel the old, and it would still be an old building in the end. With the decision to pursue a new building, we then decided we wanted it on our current school site; we didn’t want to move the center of our community to the outskirts of town. This was an easy decision to make, though it HAS been a bit challenging to accomplish. Finally, as a nod to tradition and our old facilities, we wanted our new building to be covered for the most part in block and brick.
Two things happened last week when our beloved old school hit the ground. We lost a true lifelong friend; one who has been there for us through thick and thin for nearly a century. However, we also finally got to meet the new kid on the block. The one who will take our children, grandchildren, and perhaps our great grandchildren forward into the future.
Finalizing our Budget
With the major aspects of demolition completed we can now put our complete focus on the new facility. GE Johnson and Center Schools is now able to complete the process of project budgeting knowing that no major surprises should remain pertaining to the project. This has allowed us to finally release funds to purchase new instructional display boards for classrooms. We are now able to dedicate funds for our heritage wall, sure to be one of the signature features of our new facility. We are now able to finalize our furniture, fixtures and equipment budget, including some technology items we have been holding off on purchasing.
Furniture Delivery and Installation
During the past several weeks, Contrax Furnishings has been hard at work delivering and installing new classroom, office, and library furniture. Each room in each school community is being equipped with brand new desks, chairs, shelving and support furniture. The library is filled with new book stacks and tables. Though our cafeteria is not quite ready to be occupied, new tables and chairs have already arrived for it. Our custodial staff has even received new vacuums, floor machines and equipment for maintaining the facility long into the future. With only three weeks left before our ribbon cutting ceremony and five weeks before children arrive for instruction there is still a lot to do to get the inside of the school ready for use.
Upcoming Library and Auxiliary Gym Access
In the next few days we expect to be given permission to use our new library and auxiliary gym. A lot of work still needs to be done in the library so we are targeting a late July date for re-opening. For now the gym will only be available for use by our high school athletes in preparation for 2012-13 sports competition.
Other Major Construction
Though the main instructional sections of the school are all but ready for use, we expect to begin the 2012-13 school year without full access to all parking lots and without the use of our alternative learning center, vocational classrooms, and varsity gymnasium. Work on these facilities is in full swing and we are expecting to be able to occupy them by mid September. Work on these aspects of the project began later than construction of the PK-12 classrooms because we had to wait until the end of the school year to access the facilities.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Our official ribbon cutting ceremony has been scheduled for Saturday July 28th at 1 PM in front of our new commons area on the east side of the facility. Please accept this communication as a formal invitation to attend the festivities! Though work on the entire site will not be quite done by this date we feel that formally opening the school before August will allow district staff to put its focus on the all important work of getting ready for the 2012-13 school year. Some words will be shared, a ribbon will be cut, then all attendees will be welcome to walk through the new school. A follow up ceremony will take place in September upon completion of the varsity gymnasium when Masons will conduct a cornerstone laying ceremony and a time capsule will be sealed within it.
Opening the School
Center Schools staff members will begin using the new school facilities during the first week of August when administrators and school office staff begin enrollment processes. At this time teachers will also begin participating in various staff development activities in the new facility. School doors officially open to students on Monday August 13th as Haskin Elementary children return for the 2012-13 school year and Skoglund Middle and Center High School begin their annual Jump Start program.
With federal programs applications turned in and our annual budget adopted by the board of education I have recently been focusing my time on department head evaluations, revising job descriptions, district and building academic improvement plans, and Race to the Top of the Valley collaborative work. During the week of July 8-14 I have to be in Denver for a meeting related to Focal Point services for the district, as well as a Colorado Association of School Executives executive committee meeting. I will return in time for our July school board meeting on the evening of Tuesday July 10th. I will then be working half days from Wednesday the 11th through Friday the 13th, focusing my afternoons on family activities and home improvement projects.
Thanks for listening once again and have a great week!
Thanks for listening once again and have a great week!