School's out, construction's in

District stars work on building additions


Now that the school year is officially over, construction work at the district’s various buildings will start to ramp up.

When voters approved the $45.9 million bond last March, a slew of building and ground improvements came with it, much of which is set to start this week.

Foremost among the upgrades is an addition to the Watson School and two additions to South Side High School. Construction is beginning this week on the Watson upgrade and northwest addition to the high school. Work on both is hoped to be completed by September 2015.

“I think most of the groundbreaking work and most of the disruptive work we’re hoping to get done before the beginning of school,” said Superintendent Dr. William Johnson.

The addition to Watson will add three classrooms and a small group space to the small school. In addition, the school’s field will be moved and a new playground will be installed.

“We’re expecting delivery of the new playground next week, and then it should be installed by the end of July,” said Robert Bartels, the district’s assistant superintendent of business. “We’re getting a new playground because we can’t save the pieces. You just can’t take these poles out and replace them.”

Work at the high school is much more extensive. Work has already begun on the school’s track and field, which is being torn up and replaced with artificial turf. The northwest addition, which is immediately adjacent to the field, will soon start to be built. The two-story addition will include a new fitness room, music lab and photography classroom on the first floor, as well as three art classroom and a graphics studio on the second floor.

Once construction of the northwest addition is completed, Bartels said, work on the southeast addition, which will replace the portable classrooms, will begin. That addition will add eight more classrooms and a new library.

There are smaller projects going on at all of the buildings as well. Work continues on the installation of air condition for every classroom in the district, but won’t be completed by the end of the summer. Bartels said he couldn’t estimate when the air conditioning work would be completed.

“Right now, we’re looking to hopefully finish individual buildings,” he said. “Riverside we can hopefully get done.”

In addition to the main work being done at Watson, workers will also be replacing the roof. Roof replacement will also be done at Covert.

Bartels said that the work at the buildings shouldn’t affect summer school or the village summer recreation programs. Summer school, which is usually held at the middle school, won’t be affected by the minimal construction going on there, which is just air conditioner installation.

For the village recreation program, which is usually split between the Wilson and Hewitt schools, was moved entirely to Hewitt.

“The one building that’s going to be a little bit tricky is Watson,” Bartels said. “One of the summer recreation programs is there, and they’re going to have to work around the construction.”