Work on the Kirn Middle School renovation is on track, officials said Wednesday.
“I’m very pleased with the progress,” said Vickie Murillo, superintendent of Council Bluffs Community School District.
Steel has been put in place for the school’s new main entrance and the classroom addition on the back of the building, and exterior walls for the food service addition are under construction. The entry area will include a safety vestibule to control access to the building, and new offices will be built next to that.
The two-story classroom addition will have three classrooms and a larger common learning area on the bottom level and four classrooms on the top level — all for eighth-graders. Sixth- and seventh-graders will have dedicated areas on the first floor. Space for special programs will be expanded.
Inside the building, there is a mixture of demolition and construction underway.
“A lot of what’s going on is disassembling the building so we can assemble it,” said Darrel Meyer, project manager.
Walls are being knocked down to make room for reconfiguration and, in some cases, enlargement of classrooms and common learning areas. Each grade will have a learning commons with bookshelves, technology and mobile furniture that can be rearranged for different activities. These areas will take the place of a central library. In the former office area and library, uprights have been installed so walls can be built to form the new spaces.
“You can tell this is going to be a new Kirn,” Murillo said. “We’re excited for the finished product and feel really confident with the contractor working on it. I believe the community will be proud of the finished product and that we are going to have some dynamic learning spaces.”
The general contractor for the project is Hausmann Construction, which is based in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The fixed seating in the auditorium has been removed so the space, which will become the band room, will be more flexible. The choir room will still have built-in risers, but the room will undergo some minor changes.
A mitigation team had to be called in to remove the flooring in the small gym, which had asbestos under it, Meyer said. He did have knowledge of that beforehand, he said.
“We knew there was a certain amount of asbestos,” he said. “Some was just suspected.”
As with Wilson Middle School, the small gym will become a multipurpose room that can be converted into a cafeteria or an auditorium with the use of retractable bleachers with backs that will seat about 400 people. There will be room for at least 200 chairs to be set up on the gym floor during large events. A movable stage will be available for plays, assemblies and other functions. Acoustical improvements will be made, and a new sound system will be installed.
A new boiler has been installed in the facility’s vast mechanical room, but more work remains to be done on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, Meyer said. All of the restrooms will be redone, as well as the locker rooms. The entire building will be rewired.
“There’s probably 30 different contractors working on this for Hausmann,” he said.
Builders hope to have everything enclosed before winter gets going in earnest. However, they will still need temporary heaters until the permanent air handlers are installed for each area of the building.
Completion of the project is scheduled for mid-July of 2020.
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