The Centennial School District is back at it again this summer with a major construction project that will affect a number of buildings.
The construction was made possible through a capital levy approved by voters in 2014. Maintenance upgrades and enhancements to learning spaces have already been completed at Centennial Middle School, Blue Heron Elementary, Rice Lake Elementary and Golden Lake Elementary.
“It is a really exciting time for our district. Centennial has always been a wonderful and outstanding district, but to be able to be so grateful to get the support of our community of these initiatives and to deliver on these promises to say we are going to change our future for the next 25 to 30 years by addressing our facility needs, it's a really powerful moment,” said Superintendent Brian Dietz. “Our kids are really excited. Last year, to see the students come in day one (to Golden Lake Elementary) and see that pride beaming from their faces … We are going to be able to do that in all of our buildings again this summer.”
The various construction projects are the result of a concerted effort to bring the buildings up to today's standards in terms of efficiency, security and appropriate learning spaces.
Now that school is out for the summer, construction is in full swing. This summer, projects will be completed at Centennial High School (west building), Centennial Elementary and Centerville Elementary.
“We are addressing our three oldest buildings in the district and really going through and doing a comprehensive job to put them to a point where they become more safe, efficient and also building solutions that will hopefully carry these buildings for the next 25 years,” Dietz said. “It is going to offer really unique experiences for our students moving forward.”
Construction at Centennial Elementary includes resurfacing the gym floor, replacing the carpet in the halls and media center, replacing ceiling tile, upgrading the boilers/controls and classroom heating and air conditioning systems, upgrading the plumbing in the bathrooms, exterior maintenance, replacing interior and exterior doors, re-cabling the building, reconfiguring the bus and drop-off traffic, upgrading the master clock and intercom system, adding cameras and automated door access, adding a visitor security check-in, and remodeling the front office.
Construction at Centerville Elementary is similar to the work at Centennial Elementary, but also includes remodeling the cafeteria and stage space as well as redesigning the parking lot.
“We are so appreciative of their approval of the (capital levy ballot) question we want them to know that we are taking our responsibility to do as much with those dollars and staying committed to what we said we were going to do with the dollars that were given to us,” Dietz said. “I think that it is going to build a future of success that our community can be very proud of.”
Dietz is especially excited for the work that will be completed in the high school west building, in particular the addition of flexible learning spaces throughout the building as well as an e-café. The flexible learning spaces are designed to accommodate students working in small groups.
“If you go through our hallways right now, you'll see a lot of students who are learning in the hallways or sitting down working in small groups. It works, but it is not conducive to this,” Dietz explained. “These environments will really give them a landing place in which they will be able to have access to technology, work in small groups and give them the environment they need to be successful.”
The e-café will be a space where both students and community members can gather to work in small groups or host events. The space will also be home to the district's Hall of Fame. “This hub is going to be a place where everyone can come to and really get a sense of what Centennial schools are all about,” Dietz said.
Other projects at the high school are similar to the ones happening at the elementary schools, but also include resurfacing the gym floor with wood, replacing the hallway flooring, and upgrading security cameras and automated door access.
The goal is to have all of the construction completed by the time staff comes back to school on Aug. 29. Dietz said there may still be some small final details that need to be finished up after school is in session, but it would not have a big impact on staff or the student body.
Construction is slated to begin at the high school east building in spring 2017, with many of the same upgrades as the west building, including the flexible learning spaces.
“We are being good stewards of the dollars we are afforded. We are reinvesting dollars into our buildings and putting ourselves in a situation where we are addressing the needs that are so pertinent and allowing that to be a long-term solution for our district,” Dietz said. “These are very student-centered initiatives that really put the students' needs first, their cares and concerns upfront, and they are going to be provided a great environment to learn and feel safe in overall.”