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Construction continues at Superior High School

Superior High School assistant principal Steve Olson points out changes in the boys locker room during a tour of construction work at the school last week. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Construction work was in full swing last week at Superior High School. As the first day of school edges closer, assistant principal Steve Olson said he's seen daily and even hourly transformations at the building.

A number of spaces were nearing completion, including the multi-purpose room and locker rooms.

As he took firefighters and journalists on tours of the building, Olson stopped to greet a number of Superior High School graduates who were working on the project, laying tile, welding roof joists and performing other tasks.

The $56 million renovation of Superior High School kicked off in April with a groundbreaking ceremony at the school, and is expected to be complete in 2019. It's part of a $92.5 million building referendum approved by Superior school district voters in 2016. The referendum also included the replacement of Cooper Elementary School.

When classes begin Tuesday, the interior workers will move to an afternoon schedule, beginning their work at 3:30 p.m. — after the end of the school day. Students shouldn't see any workers in the building during the day, Olson said.

Construction workers at the site also will be wearing special vests imprinted with a Spartan-head logo, according to Kraus-Anderson senior project manager Patrick Gallagher, as a safety measure so teachers and students will know they are supposed to be there.

Olson addressed a number of concerns he's heard from parents about the coming school year.

The link area, which was shut down and bisected with a road to allow heavy equipment access to what will be the school's new administration and kitchen areas, is once again connected.

The only lunchtime change students should see is a row of chairs and music stands stacked against the new instrument storage space on the south wall.

Band students will use the new multi-purpose room for classes, sharing it with the wrestling program.

Parking lots are paved and ready for use, although there will be fewer spots available this year.

Classrooms in the circle portion of the school have waxed cement floors following this summer's asbestos abatement.

Reflective tape will be placed on the floors of the metal, wood and auto shops, tracing evacuation routes. Every classroom will have two exits, Olson said.

"Parents are worried about safety in the building," he said. "We wouldn't be opening up this place if we did not think it was safe."

While the main number to the high school remains the same, staff members have new extensions because the district switched to a new phone system.

Rolling with the changes

Social studies teacher Chad Postal has watched the landscape at the high school change over the summer.

"It looks pretty good now," he said.

Postal has been hearing positive feedback from returning teachers.

"I think everybody realizes that in a year we're going to be in a new facility and we're just going to deal with all the little things that come up and it's not going to be a big deal," he said. "It'll all be worth it in the end."

As with parking, classroom space will be a little tighter this year.

"There are a number of teachers who had to move because their area was destroyed," Olson said. "So they're on carts; they're sharing multiple rooms; their office space is a little smaller now than they would have wanted it."

From the beginning, he said, these teachers were part of the solution, working out ways to co-exist as the school is rebuilt around them.

The assistant principal gave a shout-out to the high school custodians and engineers for their teamwork and patience.

"They've done just a tremendous amount of work," Olson said. "Their schedule got very condensed with all the things they had to move."

There were times when equipment and classroom items had to be moved on two or three different occasions, he said.

"We're all working together to get things done," said custodian Janet Anderson. "It's a team effort, no doubt about it."

For more information on the project, visit the district's website, superior.k12.wi.us.

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