Students, parents greeted with construction on first day of school
Improvements sometimes aren’t pretty but the end result will be worth it.
USD 410 board of education members and school administrators toured facilities Monday evening to see the construction progress at Hillsboro Elementary School and Hillsboro High School.
A new addition on the south side of the school has resulted in a new lunchroom and kitchen.
A large closet will provide storage for lunch tables which will give the spacious room more options for use.
A hall from the lunchroom goes to an east door and a new parking lot. On Monday, concrete curbing had been poured with plans for the asphalt drive being laid Saturday.
Previously students and staff ate in the school gymnasium which also was shared with physical education classes. The former kitchen will be used as a staff room.
A classroom and work room was expanded into one room and HES Principal Evan Yoder envisions that area being used as the preschool room. The only obstacle is the completion of a bathroom.
The former front office and administration offices also have been remodeled with walls removed and a bathroom yet to be installed. Yoder said he wasn’t sure how that space will be utilized.
Board members also viewed water damage that occurred in the school’s art and music room as a result of the improvement project. Ceiling tiles and a piano were damaged.
The most significant change during the first few weeks of school, particularly for parents, is the school’s parking lot.
A new driveway allows vehicles to drive through a loop so drivers can drop off passengers near the east door. However, those improvements will not be completed for another week or two.
Buses will continue to deliver students to the front or south side of the school.
An older building was removed from the southeast part of the school’s campus and replaced with a new building that houses a weight room, locker room, bathrooms and showers, and an office area for coaches.
When board members saw the locker room, they were disappointed that the wrong lockers had been installed. Instead of 80 large lockers, there were 160 smaller lockers, giving each athlete two lockers.
Former athletic director now HHS Principal Max Heinrichs said he particularly wanted the larger lockers so players could hang up their uniforms.
Also the school provides locks for the lockers and he would rather provide 80 locks than 160 for students.
New public bathrooms also were added and an office for athletic director Robert Remple.
The science room received a make-over with new cabinets and countertops, sinks, and equipment.
A parking lot also is in the works on the east side of the school. Wet weather has hampered efforts but contractors hope to lay asphalt Saturday.
Not quite ready
Although much of the improvements will not be ready when students return to school this week, contractors plan to complete the interior work within the next few weeks.
In the meantime, lunches will be transported from HHS to the elementary school for the first few days, Yoder said.
For the sake of student safety, elementary school students will begin the first day of school at different times, staggering the times that parents will be delivering and accompanying children, Yoder said.
Construction areas at the high school will be cordoned off in an effort to keep students safe and out of the way of construction.