Snow, cold don't slow STEM Lab progress [w/video]
Exterior brick work wraps up as interior construction pushes ahead
Despite an often cold and snowy month, the ongoing STEM Lab renovation and reconstruction rolled ahead in February with much of the work shifting toward interior work on the building's second 25,000-square foot expansion.
Construction is quickly approaching the final sprint of a two-year marathon to transform the aging 47-year-old middle school into a state-of-the-art learning facility for STEM learners from across the Five Star District.
Exterior brick work was wrapping up in late February and classroom window installation was also underway. Bouts of cold weather have repeatedly delayed attempts to pour asphalt for a new middle school drop-off loop on the south side of the building. Plastic tarps now cover the dirt in anticipation of warmer spring-like weather.
Inside the building, drywall framing has clearly defined areas of the new portion of the building such as the new main entrance, which will include a secured vestibule for building visitors; a new main office space that dwarfs both the current temporary office space as well as the school's original administrative area; and the middle school classroom wing where the long corridor awaits the placement of student lockers.
An architectural focal point of the expansion is the school's nearly 5,000-square foot library. The library boasts a circular shape similar to an engine gear - a nod to the school's specialized curriculum - and light will cascade through a south wall of windows. The room's design accents will mimic the gear theme and the space is being designed to be flexible with mobile furniture and a mobile circulation desk.
Another accent that will be familiar to those who have been inside the first expansion of the building - completed in 2018 - is the use of salvaged wood from the school's original gym bleachers as a design element. Similar to the first expansion, the wood lines the walls of an area that will become a Makerspace lab - this one primary for middle school students.
When the school's renovation and reconstruction is finished - on schedule for an August 2019 completion - it will allow enrollment to grow and provide more STEM-learning opportunities for students across the Five Star District - another goal of the 2016 Bond Program. The expansion will add one more class at each grade level K-7.