Holcomb USD 363 bond projects, which include updates to all four of the district’s schools, are either complete or underway, and are expected to wrap up before or soon after the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
On Monday, district administrators and Nick Nemechek, an architect with Gibson Mancini Carmichael & Nelson Architects in Garden City, led USD 363 Board of Education members through Wiley and Holcomb elementary schools and Holcomb High School, taking a look at what is done and what is left to do.
"It’s great for our security and learning spaces,” Superintendent Scott Myers said of the projects. “The community had a great vision to do this in this day and age of security but also make it useful for educational purposes, too — not just put bars on the windows. It’s a good approach that they took.”
In November 2017, district voters approved one of two bond items to fund projects totaling more than $4 million in facility additions and improvements at the two elementary schools, Holcomb Middle School and at the high school. The bond raised the district’s mill levy by 3.15 mills.
Projects at Wiley, Holcomb Elementary and the middle school wrapped up recently after beginning construction last June, Myers said. All three schools underwent remodels and security upgrades to their front offices, including a surveillance monitor connected to cameras throughout the respective campuses, as well as heating and air conditioning upgrades at Holcomb Elementary and the middle school.
At Holcomb Elementary, new exterior doors shine more light into the hallways, and each classroom is fitted with reinforced door locks and windows in case of intruders. In the back of the building, what was once an exit opens into a storm shelter that doubles as a music room.
The updated offices at the elementary schools are now more open, administrators said, and offer an extra level of safety, as visitors must be buzzed in and walk through the room before entering the school. The Wiley project also included updates to its front nurse’s office.
The projects at the high school are still deep in construction phases, with plans to finish by August, Myers said.
While the original bond project plans included heating and air conditioning upgrades, additional security cameras and construction of a new storm shelter/wrestling room and front office, the district also used a combination of bond and capital outlay funds to resurrect a version of the other failed bond item. Instead of a standalone locker room facility, as originally planned, the existing high school’s locker rooms are being significantly remodeled, Myers said.
The new girls and boys locker rooms will include new ADA showers and restrooms and projection and speaker systems coaches can use to play back game footage, Holcomb High School principal Jason Johnson told board members Monday.
Another alternate element of the failed bond item also lives on with a new concession stand, which will be a retrofitted space in old offices near the high school’s commons area rather than connected to the scrapped standalone facility.
The locker rooms are expected to be completed by the end of May, while the concession stand, storm shelter and front office are scheduled for completion by the end of August, near the beginning of the school year, Myers said. The concession stand will likely be finished earlier, he said.
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