Luxemburg-Casco school renovation: Secure primary school entrance in place
LUXEMBURG – Two weeks into the 2019-20 school year, Luxemburg-Casco School District Superintendent Glenn Schlender said it's too early to say how well the renovations completed so far on the district's school buildings are working.
To be fair, not much of the $27.8 million renovation funded after the passage of two referendums in April 2018 has been completed, since most of the work just started in May.
However, a secure entrance with a relocated adjacent office for the primary school, two new 5K classrooms and a newly-paved playground with new equipment for the primary students were completed before the start of the year.
Other components of the project are in progress, especially at the high school and what will become the new middle school, which will be attached to the high school building.
"It's the shuffling around where people are going to be inconvenienced and disruptive," Schlender said during a tour of the work sites. "But it's a school. You can't build it all in one summer."
Schlender said the renovations that are less visible are important, too, and those have been working without a hitch so far. They include new sprinkler systems, boilers and LED lighting. The secure primary school entrance has required some parents and visitors to adjust to buzzing in and signing in, but they're learning.
"It's the things you don't see, necessarily," Schlender said. "Safety is enhanced through the entrances. It's one of those things you don't think about until something goes wrong."
Another "invisible" upgrade is a safety film that covers the windows at the schools, which Schlender said is a required part of a school safety grant awarded to the district last year. The film is designed to slow a bullet fired from a gun at a window, and prevent the window from shattering upon impact, potentially allowing an intruder to climb through the opening.
"It's not going to stop a bullet," Schlender said. "But it causes the pieces (of broken glass) to stick together. It delays entry until the first responders can get there."
Schelender said a new bus lane, which was designed to keep the buses apart from students walking around, are working well so far.
"It was a completely unsafe situation," Schlender said. "This separates bus traffic on campus from foot traffic."
The next big projects on the horizon are completing the high school gymnasium, practice room for its wrestling team and locker rooms.
The gym will hold three basketball courts and have more bleacher seating for games, where the old gym had one and a half. The wrestling room is about twice the size of the previous one, Schlender said, and will have five mats instead of two. They're on track to be completed in January.
"Everyone is excited about the new gym," Schlender said. "They've been talking about it for a long time … Building the gym is more about having an appropriately sized facility."
The public will find it can make more use of the school's facilities once the renovations are complete. The current wrestling room is being converted to a fitness center that will be open to the public, and three high school classrooms next to the gym will become multi-use rooms that could be used by the public for meeting space, for example.
The high school office is moving from the center of the building, which Schlender noted was standard in older schools, to the remodeled entrance. Because of that, a temporary entrance is at the north end of the building, where much of the current work is taking place, and a security guard is stationed nearby during school hours to direct construction vehicle traffic when students are present.
New technical education rooms with several new machines are also being built, along with a suite a family and consumer science rooms, Schlender said. Those will be used by both high and middle school students, as will the cafeteria, but Schlender said scheduling will keep high and middle school students "as separate from each other as much as possible."
Work continues on the new middle school, which replaces the current one in Casco. It's scheduled for completion by the start of the 2020-21 year.
While a lot of work remains, Schlender said he looks forward to what the new and renovated buildings will offer students and their families.
"It's exciting," he said. "We're the largest employer in the community, and I think people are impressed when they see us being supported by the community… For a smaller school to have a facility like this is pretty impressive."
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Luxemburg-Casco school renovation: Secure primary school entrance in place