Construction on the Newell-Fonda School addition is progressing on pace. When complete, there will be 10 new classrooms, three mega-science lab and lecture rooms, a new shop and a practice gym/multipurpose room.
The entire school will also be handicap accessible.
It was a good year for construction. Voters approved a bond back in April for the estimated $7.5 million school improvement project. Bids came in 21 percent lower than what was expected, leaving approximately $850,000.
Part of the plan, when the addition was being discussed, was that further necessary improvements would be made in the future. The school board is opting to make some of those improvements now while funds are available to do so.
Under the guidelines, any of the left over bonded funds must be used for school improvements within three years.
Supt. Jeff Dicks explained that it would be nice to be able to use some of those funds to prepay the bond but added that prepayment is not allowed. He also added that the board wants to avoid a "roller coaster tax rate" for the residents of the districts.
Additional projects totaling about $240,000 have already been approved and some of them already completed.
On the list includes wall cabinets in the elementary and middle school classrooms, updating the older restrooms in the building, repairing a roof over the locker room and hallway, abating asbestos in the elementary room ceilings and putting in new ceilings, new carpet in some of the rooms, installing a new durable ceiling in the old gym made of high-impact tile, adding new lights in the competing gym and new welding equipment for the shop.
Additional roof repairs are being looked at. Putting in air conditioning in the elementary and center tower is also in the plan; these are the only two areas in the school that do not have air conditioning and when it heats up outside, it heats up in these areas as well and often creates an early out for the entire school. The addition of the air conditioning will put an end to those early outs, said Supt. Dicks.