Central renovation is on schedule

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This photo, taken last week, shows the steel frames for the celing in the commons/kitchen area.

Taken a few weeks ago, this photo shows workers removing the old ceiling and columns in the 1930s building.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor



he academic year might be winding down but construction is gearing up at Central Community Schools where crews are well into a $6 million renovation project.

“We’re still finalizing the summer schedule and a lot of that work will depend on how the current work wraps up,” said Central superintendent and elementary principal Nick Trenkamp. “But as long as we stay on schedule, phase 1 will be completed in time for the next school year.”

Here’s what that means: When classes start in late August, the district office, commons area, kitchen, foyer, main entrance, concession stand, level 2/3 special education classroom, nurse’s office, family liaison office and elementary entrance will all be finished. Crews will spend the summer working in the foyer area, which might impact access to the building and gyms.

“We also need to remove asbestos in the current kitchen and industrial tech/shops areas, which will start the first day without students,” Trenkamp added.

In Trenkamp’s opinion, the commons, kitchen and concession stand are the biggest pieces of the construction project and likely the areas that will have the greatest impact since the area is used year-round by numerous community groups as well as Central students, faculty and staff.

The remainder of the project, which includes new locker rooms, new ADA compliant restrooms, an elevator, new classrooms, and new media center, will be finished in 2019. It will require demolition of the area between the small gym and the hallway along the riverside. The area will be rebuilt to align with elevation levels of the rest of the building.

The $6 million school bond passed last April. This is the first renovation to the school requiring a bond vote in more than 40 years.

Though the renovation process has gone smoothly, it has not been without challenges. Some spaces have been significantly downsized or relocated. For example, the high school media center, which will become the new commons area, has been merged with the elementary media center; a nearby classroom handles the overflow. The business office has been moved into the space that previously served as its reception/waiting area.

“Many other areas have also be affected and will continue to be as we move into different phases of the project,” Trenkamp said.

And while the noise, relocation and other inconveniences associated with renovating an occupied space are a daily reality, few of the building’s occupants are complaining.

“There really is a positive buzz in our building as everyone is excited about the work and anxious to see the end product,” Trenkamp said. “Whenever a door is open into a construction area you can see students and staff pick up the pace so they can peek in! When construction area becomes safer, I hope to bring people in for tours subject to Larson’s approval, of course.”

“Larson’s” is Larson Construction, general contractors for the work. Trenkamp gives the company high marks for staying on schedule and communicating regularly with him.

Central’s transformation has been exciting for Trenkamp to watch. But like so many others, he’s looking forward to the day the project is finished.

“I’m looking forward to an open house to share the work that has been done,” he said. “Again, I want to thank our community for their support. Without you this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Follow Central’s progress on the school’s website. New photos are added weekly.

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