Back to School
We are only 1 month away from the opening day of school for the 2012-2013 school year. It has been a very busy summer with a lot of action happening in all of our buildings. Are they ready to go? What work has been completed and what work is yet to be done? When will the public be able to see the finished products?
First of all I want to congratulate and thank our custodial and maintenance staff this summer. They have worked very hard and have put in long, hot hours in the buildings. I am very proud of this staff and sincerely thank them for their hard work. One of the unique things we have done this summer is that the custodial staff have worked as one big team to clean and move one building at a time instead of just focusing on their own facility. We have had several businesses and civic groups who gave time in moving and painting this summer. A special thank you to Walmart for their time, money and commitment they have given to the district. That is not to slight the other groups, but Walmart has gone above and beyond expectations for what has been done.
Stewart Elementary is ready to roll. The third-grade classes have been moved out. There has been a shuffling of classrooms so that grade-alike classes are all in close proximity with each other. The rooms have all been cleaned and waxed and the building is ready to go. As most are aware, Stewart went through a major renovation the previous two years. The facility is geo-thermal heated and cooled and all the windows, lights and several doors have been replaced. While this last winter was very mild, it is important to note a better than 50 percent savings in utility bills. Stewart is a PK-second-grade building now. The building will feature a new 4-year-old all day pre-school option along with the half-day program for 3- and 4-year-olds. The response to the all-day option has been very strong and was expanded to two full sections to meet the demand.
Lincoln elementary is also pretty close to being ready. Lincoln is the site of summer school courses and the summer hot lunch program, so there are a few rooms and the cafeteria that will need to be cleaned and waxed prior to the opening of school, but the majority of the building is already done. Third-grade classrooms have been moved in and sixth grade classrooms have been moved out. There have been a few updates in the building to accommodate third grade students as opposed to sixth graders. A significant portion of the building was already central air conditioned, but for those classrooms that were not, window air units have been installed.
The former high school will now serve as the sixth-eighth grade middle school for the district. This facility has gone through a near $1 million update. A big “thank you” goes out to Curt Mayer, Beth Moravec, Aaron Six and Connie Hoffman-Svenby, who have committed their entire summer to make this building ready to go. We also have had several volunteers who have contributed time throughout the summer.
As of Friday, 07/20/2012, there were 38 classrooms in the facility of which 11 were still awaiting to be painted. There are paint days scheduled for July 30 and 31, though they will accept help whenever someone is available.
For someone who has not been in this facility in the last year, you will see a noticeable difference. The facility has brand new, energy efficient boilers and the controls in the classrooms have been replaced or repaired. The lights throughout the facility have been replaced, including the gym. New ceilings have been replaced throughout all the classrooms in the facility. The electrical service has been replaced and was actually switched over on July 19. We appreciate a generous gift from Carl and Helen Dallmeyer that made that happen. The work on the electrical service is anticipated to be completed in the next week. The majority of this work was made possible through an energy grant from the Office of Energy and the above-mentioned donation.
This facility was also the recipient of a Riverboat Foundation Grant to install media-enabled equipment in all the classrooms. Work has begun on this but may not quite be completed by the start of school, but certainly within a few weeks of the start. Thank you to the Riverboat Foundation. Through the use of a facilities grant through the Iowa Department of Education, we also will be replacing and repairing several of the doors throughout this facility. This also is an ongoing process that may extend into the start of school. A restroom will be renovated in the next week, specific for the use of Special Education. Several old carpets have been removed to discover solid wood floors underneath that have been repaired and refinished. The kitchen has been remodeled. Two new roofs are currently being replaced and should be completed prior to school. Several walls have been patched and repaired.
The facility will have air conditioning in every classroom and now has the electrical support to do so.
We are planning an open house for this facility when we feel it is prepared to do so. We will be going right up to the start of school in getting this facility prepared, but I think I am comfortable in saying that the work done in this facility will make it an adequate and comfortable facility for the next two decades.
Washington Community School District and its Board of Education is very proud to announce an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house of the new high school on Monday, August 13, 2012. The high school is probably 98 percent done. All the construction is completed. There is balancing of heating and cooling and work on the alarms systems still going on. Installation of the telephone systems and Internet wireless systems is slated for this week. Final installation of and wiring of kitchen equipment is also scheduled this week. Bleachers will be installed in the gym on July 30 and lockers are slated to be installed the week of Aug. 3. Teachers and classrooms have been moved in but most are yet to be unpacked. This facility will also be geothermal heated and cooled.
There is also renovation being completed in the old junior high part of the high school. Finish date for this renovation is Aug. 1. This includes the switch-over of the music room to a computer lab, media center converted to a journalism lab and a doubling of space of the art room. There have been some electrical upgrades to this facility. Window air units will be installed in any classroom that does not already have air.
The high school has been landscaped and seeded. As the majority of us know, this has been a difficult summer with the lack of rain. The grass has been a little spotty in its growth and the trees are struggling to survive. The good news is that we have until October to approve or not the landscaping that has been done and can request replacement if needed.
We are very excited about having a four grade, nine-12 high school. It is a welcome addition to the district and was very needed. The grade alignment for the district is the right thing to do and should prove to be more efficient. We have reduced staff through attrition by 4.25 FTE for next year. This helps the checkbook and should result in property tax savings for patrons. All the classrooms will be air conditioned and there will not be any need for heat-related early dismissals.