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Nearly ready …

By Staff | Aug 14, 2008

Above, Vanessa Vedder tries out the sinks in the Demoney addition during a tour of the facilities Wednesday evening.

Good things come to those who wait …

And now, the EL4C dream is tucked within new walls and floors, complete with modern fixtures and is ready to be filled with desks for the exuberant educating of Estherville Lincoln Central Community School students.

The Educational Legacy 4 Children Committee was invited to visit and tour the new addition at Demoney, a section of the new middle school and remodeled areas of the high school Wednesday as a special walk-through was conducted with school board members and administration also present.

Project architect Ed Wineinger and project manager Roger Gilbert were in attendance as well.

The committee was the driving force behind the passage of the bond issue December 2006.

ELC elementary principal Kris Schlievert, right, tells the EL4C Committee members about the remodeled rotunda, including its newly-tiled floor. EDN photo by David Swartz

The group congregated outside the newly remodeled office of elementary principal Kris Schlievert at Demoney.

“The board was insistent the first people through here was the EL4C Committee because you were instrumental in making this happen,” said ELC Superintendent Dick Magnuson. “It is because of your hard work that made this a reality.”

Molly Anderson, school board president, added, “This is an exciting day and an amazing one.” She welcomed the group and thanked them too for their hard work and dedication.

Demoney Elementary

Schlievert began the tour in the multi-purpose room in the southwest corner of Demoney where a new storage area was added for Jeanne Egeland who coordinates the district’s before- and after-school programs.

“And the program is loaded this year with 90 students for this program,” the principal said.

Fire doors were added in the hallway nearest the principal’s office leading into the rotunda. “When the alarm goes off, these doors will close.”

The group was impressed with the new tile in the rotunda once carpeted. “We think that it was the original carpet,” Schlievert said. She voiced her thanks to the school board for including these project into the plans.

The media center will be housed in part of the rotunda area. The computer lab shrunk somewhat to make a nice-sized classroom for media specialist Lili Jensen.

“This will be much improved from holding class in the rotunda,” she explained.

The tour continued into the Head Start rooms which are buffered by a common area housing the bathrooms and sinks. The classes traditionally include 17-18 students.

Eventually there will tables in this space for activities and meals/snacks. They have their own access to the playground for recess.

The Day Care section is housed in an all-inclusive space for activities, naps and lunch. This room too has its own exit to outside for recess. Also included are sinks, bathrooms and workspace.

Each newly remodeled room has a bubbler near the sinks. This device imitates the familiar hallway water fountain and will be beneficial in reducing hall traffic and the occasional problem which arises while waiting in line for drinks.

The infant room is also a welcomed addition. At present there are eight babies registered.

“This is so awesome,” Schlievert said. “Before, (Day Care) students would be in the Maniece basement and walk through the high school to come over here for preschool and now we are all in the same building.”

Proceeding on, the tour arrived at the place where the north doors to Demoney are located. Looking to the west, the area opens into the new wing housing 10 classrooms.

The narrative mirrored the “Chronicles of Narnia” as the group learned the custodial closet once located there was blasted through for the new wing.

New lockers will hug the corridor and the principal said they are “single” lockers.

The former “boot room” is now the entrance-exit point for bus students.

The staff work room, once housed in the rotunda, has a new home in this section and will house the second grade book collection and faculty restrooms also.

An added bonus is the section is air-conditioned for student and staff comfort.

“These rooms are 900 square feet and we are excited, excited, excited,” the principal said, noting former classes in the rotunda were 720 square feet and at McKinley, 870 square feet.

Another nice feature is the amplification system which provides a microphone for the teacher. The speaker is positioned in the center of the room.

Wineinger said, “This is a new concept and makes listening to the teacher the main focus. This amplification system will improve learning.”

Magnuson said this purchase was provided by Hy-Vee Smiles award and Site Council money which includes Box Tops for Education funds.

The 10-room wing will always depend on population of students as to what classrooms fill the area. Schlievert said the wing will hold one kindergarten class, five first grade rooms and four second grade classes for the 2008-09 school year.

The architect pointed to the concrete colored flooring, saying admixture was included in the concrete and will prove to a money-saver in the long run. It will never need waxing so it will be cost-effective to maintain with routine cleaning and buffing.

Schlievert announced there will be a grand opening once the school year has begun.

Middle School

From there, it was out the doors to trek on over to the site of middle school construction behind the high school.

About that time, the sky darkened with flashes of light and sounds of rolling thunder. The group was herded into the newly-roofed gymnasium where row upon row of new cabinets continue to rest in their shipping cartons.

“This is a secure, safe place to store items from the weather,” Magnuson said.

The gymnasium will hold 400 and is situated below street level. In the northwest corner are street-level windows so passersby can look in.

Magnuson said in addition to the classrooms for fifth-eighth grades in the two-story facility, there will be shared art, family consumer, instrumental music, vocal music and a fitness room for students in middle school and high school.

He added the staff is already writing curriculum for grades seven-12.

The gymnasium will be equipped with a curtain in the center. “We want the gym to be user-friendly,” the superintendent said. Students will eat their lunch on one side before proceeding to the other side of the curtain for various games and activities until lunch time is over.

While students will be permitted outside, the only equipment available will be a basketball hoop.

The corner of the middle school will connect with the “C” wing corridor at the high school.

High School

From the gym area, the tour proceeded over to the high school, entering the southeast doorway.

Principal Frank Christenson said Maniece disappeared but those classrooms had to be relocated into the high school proper.

Social studies, math, special education, the nurse’s office and the art department have now been incorporated into the main sections of the high school.

He said the remodeling work actually was initiated at Christmas time with the removal of tile in certain classrooms. Since that time the band and chorus classes have taken up residence in the Little Theatre and the math department is now home in the former band and vocal rooms.

Christenson seemed especially pleased to announce the high school has a new sound system with a speaker in every room.

Magnuson added fixtures that could be reused from Maniece were incorporated into the new facilities as much as possible.

Proceeding to the area between the cafeteria and gymnasium, Brian DeJong, assistant high school principal and athletic director, noted the new scoreboards in the gymnasium made possible by the ELC Booster Club.

He said current plans include painting of the entire gym in 2009.

Proceeding to the west wing of the building, Christenson said one large classroom was converted into two smaller rooms for special education classes. This wing will now house Spanish, family consumer science and special ed. East wing will be home to English and social studies department.

The principal noted because of labs, the science departments are located in various sections of the building.

“The nurse’s office is now more centrally located and is where the athletic office used to be. Brian’s (DeJong’s) secretary was relocated to the former teacher’s lounge, to be closer to Brian’s office.”

The school’s maintenance department was instrumental in relocating the teacher’s lounge to the northeast corner of the foods lab, formerly used for storage. Christenson said all other special education classrooms will be located in “C” wing.

Magnuson thanked everyone for coming, saying “You can see the big picture now from all of the tiny pieces and we have nice facilities at the high school, Demoney and middle school. There is still a lot to be done some fine tuning but we can appreciate the quality of the project and the great design. We all need to thank this community for their continued support.”