STEM Lab pushes closer to completion two years after start
Construction process focused on finishing touches
Two years ago, STEM Lab students used hand-made robots to churn ceremonial dirt for the start of the renovation and expansion of their Northglenn school.
Students and staff headed out for the summer this month with slightly less fanfare but with the expectation of a new, completed school to call home when they return in August.
As summer break got underway, construction workers put the finishing touches - such as interior windows, ceiling tiles, carpet, cabinetry and lighting - on the inside of the building's 25,000-square-foot expansion. Rows of shiny silver lockers now line the new middle school classroom wing and final design touches featuring re-used school bleacher wood were being installed in late May. With the end of the school year, workers were also able to remove a safety barrier and reveal the final link between the latest expansion, the refurbished section of the building and a similar-sized expansion completed during the first phase of construction in 2018.
Outdoor site work has lagged due to a wet winter and spring but progress is now expected to increase on the remaining asphalt parking lots/drives and concrete pathways that have yet to be poured.
Construction is ahead of schedule and the project team is cautiously optimistic that the building will reach a substantial completion date possibly as soon as mid-July.
As the lengthy construction process nears a finish, STEM Lab Principal Tracy Tellinger reflected on the challenging journey to rebuild the school. Students and staff shuffled between different portions of the school during construction to allow the school to remain open as it was rebuilt.
"It has been an arduous journey for sure," Tellinger said, "but also a journey that has brought our students, families and staff together in ways only possible by experiencing this project together. Throughout the journey our staff and students did a great job of keeping their focus on teaching and learning and our families have demonstrated patience and understanding."
The two-year STEM Lab project was identified as a part of the 2016 Bond Program to upgrade the learning environment for the nearly 10-year old magnet school and expand STEM-learning opportunities for students across the district. When the school's renovation is completed, it will allow enrollment to grow from 475 current students to an anticipated 720 students.
Tellinger thanked the community for the support of the 2016 Bond Program and looked ahead to a mostly construction free 2019-20 school year.
"We will miss the faces of the men and women in orange vests and hard hats on our campus but we are excited to welcome more than 220 new students and 20 new staff members to our school community," she said.