New high school taking major steps toward completion

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With the start of fall and the new school year also comes major milestones for the new high school’s construction. By the end of Sept., all the building systems like air conditioning, cooling, and water should be up and running. “It’s a pretty big milestone that [the building] can heat and cool itself,” superintendent Corey Lunn said. “That means everything’s working.” The functioning systems will be very beneficial to the adding of finishing touches like cabinets, painting and carpeting, particularly during the winter. “Having the heat in there really helps the workers and protects those spaces throughout the winter months,” Lunn said.

In order to utilize workers best, the building is being constructed from north to south. The north wing is already carpeted, painted and is mostly done. “It’s just a matter of a few final pieces,” high school principal Ryan Woods said. Towards the south side of the building, it looks more like a typical construction site with concrete, drywall and dust. “It’s pretty exciting to get to go over there and to see the full evolution of it from ‘here’s how it’s starting’ then on the other end you can see it being pretty much done,” Woods said.

Recently, the new stadium was approved and construction on it has begun. “[The stadium] adds to that work out there so I don’t think there’d be setbacks as much as there’s just a lot going on,” Woods said. Along with the work on the stadium, there have also been requests to change certain aspects of the building or redo them. “That was just us asking for something to be modified to best meet our needs like different ways to utilize office space,” Woods said.

What initially struck many teachers, community members and students, like Kaitlyn Wendl ’19, about the new high school was the size of it. “I thought it was really big but once the tour was over I was like, ‘Oh yeah I get why they need to have it this big,’” Wendl said. Operations manager for Johnston Community Education, Kayla Badtram, thought that despite the size of the building, it was well laid out and very easy to navigate.

Many people are very excited about the new high school, and cannot wait to see what it offers. “I think we’re very fortunate to have this great facility being built for our students,” Badtram said. “I look forward to my kids getting the opportunity to attend the new high school in the future.” There was not anything that Badtram disliked about the building.

Woods is also excited about the new high school, and its strong focus on students. The goal is really a focus on our kids and giving them choice and allowing them to really focus on their strengths,” Woods said. For example, all the furniture is designed to be flexible and mobile and classrooms will have different types of furniture to meet students’ needs. Additionally, there will be windows in almost every classroom, several commons areas and many other new elements intended to be geared towards students.

Lunn and Woods both believe that the construction of the new high school is going well, and it is still scheduled to be completed in April of 2017. “Everything’s been on schedule, on time, and on budget, so it’s been a really good project,” Lunn said. For tours of the new high school, please contact Laura Sprague, JCSD Communications & Marketing, at 515-278-0470 or laura.sprague@jdragonmail.us

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