Even though the new Kirkwood Center is still under construction, the Kirkwood Partnership Planning Group, made up of area school principals and superintendents, as well as the Kirkwood counseling team, took a tour through the building this morning.
Kirkwood Washington director Tera Pickens said that the construction is coming along quickly. She said that the construction workers are getting down to the finishing work such as flooring and carpeting. She said there is at least one coat of paint in the classrooms. There are still some interior windows that need to be installed. As the group was walking in, workers who were installing the stonework on the outside of the building watched them enter. Pickens said that lab equipment and furniture would be moved in soon.
“The building has reached a point we can get in here without hard hats and tour around, so it is an exciting time for them to get in here and see the progress and everything that is involved in the final stretch,” Pickens said.
The building is scheduled to be completed June 1. Pickens said Kirkwood would still hold its summer term in the current building and then make the final move to the new building in August after the term is over.
Washington Schools Superintendent Mike Jorgensen was impressed with the building and said that the Washington school district is looking forward to the district sending students for college-level courses at the new facility.
“I think when you look at the diversity of the programs that are going to be available, it is more opportunity than what a normal high school could provide the kids, that’s for sure.”
He also said the proximity will allow Washington students more flexibility in terms of attending classes at the new facility. He said that the other schools in the area would have to commit half days for students, while Washington students will have four options during the day.
Jorgensen said that Friday was the first time he had visited the new Kirkwood building. He said that in a district with 50 percent of the students qualifying for free and reduced expenses, he feels the facility will provide the students with a lot of college classes free of charge.
“That is a tremendous opportunity for them,” he said.
As he explored the vacant rooms that were in varying states of completion, Lone Tree School District dean of students Regan Stone said he was impressed with the progress crews were making.
“We have done a lot of planning and talked for a long time,” he said. “It is good to see the light coming at the end of the tunnel.”
Mid-Prairie and Keota schools superintendent Mark Schneider echoed Jorgensen’s comment that the new building would be a great opportunity for high school students throughout the area.
“They are going to have access to things they wouldn’t normally have access to if this wasn’t in the area,” he said.