PdC school upgrade nearing completion

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The new auditorium is beginning to take shape. Acoustic panels and lights have been installed. The seats will be installed on Aug. 20.

Upgrades to the Bluff View science lab are nearly complete.

The new band room is ready to go at Bluff View Intermediate School.

The Bluff View technical education room has noise reduction panels near the ceiling and a dust reduction system. The tables were constructed by students.

 

By Ted Pennekamp

 

With the first day of school, Sept. 4, fast approaching, most of the estimated $19 million school facilities upgrade project in Prairie du Chien is wrapping up.

“The goal is to have the majority of work, especially interior work, completed by Sept. 1,” said Superintendent Robert Smudde.

Smudde said the work and B.A. Kennedy Elementary School is completed and the work at Bluff View Intermediate School is within two weeks of being done.

Work will probably still be going on for the new auditorium at the high school when school starts, but Smudde said work can continue on the auditorium while school is in progress and it will not disturb school activities because the new facility is currently blocked off from the school.

Smudde said the 766 seats for the auditorium are expected to be put in place on Aug. 20. The interior of the auditorium is expected to be done in the first week of September. The entrance and ticket area of the auditorium is under construction. The auditorium will have a separate entrance from the main entrance to the high school. Once completed, an event can be held in the auditorium, for example, and a basketball game can be held at the same time with neither event disturbing the other. The auditorium will be 45 feet high (four stories) because of all of the catwalks and rigging needed for performances. There will also be an orchestra pit in front of the stage. An auditorium director will be hired.

The new, large gymnasium has been completed, except for the bleachers. Smudde said the addition of bleachers will be separate from the $19 million upgrade project, and it is not yet known how much the bleachers will cost. The school district is looking into various options regarding bleachers, he said. Bleachers might cost $150,000 or $200,000.

“We will eventually have bleachers in the new gym,” Smudde said. “The gym will be a competition gym, but for the first year, it will be practice gym. We will review it in the spring. We want to host sectional events, and for that, we need at least 2,000 seats.”

Because of the increased space as a result of the facilities upgrade project, one new person has been hired for the custodial staff. Another person was hired to replace a retiree.

“We will review and maybe make a shift to cover all of the new space,” said Smudde about the custodial work.

The entire project includes numerous upgrades at the high school, Bluff View and B.A. Kennedy. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 19, 2017, at the high school. The addition on the east side of the high school is 31,170 square feet and houses the new gymnasium and a greenhouse. The gym has 20 baskets. The new 27,960-square-foot auditorium is on the west side of the high school. The library upgrade has been completed at B.A. Kennedy. The new band room, technical education room and science room are nearly complete at Bluff View. The Bluff View gym is now larger. A storage building has been added behind Bluff View and the parking lot has been upgraded. There is air conditioning now in all three schools.

The architect for the facilities upgrade project is HSR Associates of La Crosse. The general contractor is Olympic Builders of Holmen.

“It’s been a really busy couple of months, but it’s really starting to take shape,” said Smudde. “We look forward to when we can stop talking about construction and start focusing on the students. It’s going to be a state-of-the-art, gorgeous facility.”

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