Breaking ground for renovation
Community members, school officials, construction managers and students gathered along 28th Street Wednesday for the official groundbreaking ceremony at Superior High School.
Kent Bergum, who has been principal of SHS since 2000, said students aren't feeling the excitement of the project quite yet.
At this point, the only sign of the impending construction is fencing.
"My guess is the excitement will come when they start seeing this building going up," Bergum said.
The high school renovation project will be completed in phases. The first phase is the construction of a new three-story academic building, scheduled for completion in 2018. Students will then move into the new building for the 2018-19 school year to allow for the demolition of the existing "circle," cafeteria and office area.
The high school administrative staff will be displaced during the second phase of construction, but Bergum said that inconvenience is of minor concern.
"It's really an exciting time," Bergum said. "I think, realistically, everybody knows there's a lot of adjustments we need to make over the next year and a half, but there's a lot of really positive energy."
Most of the contracts for the SHS project have yet to be awarded. The Superior School Board will hand out six contracts at a special meeting at 1 p.m. Monday, but the majority of the bids will be discussed at the Board's May 8 meeting.
The estimated budget for the high school project is about $57 million.
If adjustments are needed to keep within budget, Superintendent Janna Stevens does not expect designs to change substantially.
"The outside design will be the same," she said. "If we have to cut back and maybe do different things on the inside — whether it's materials or other things — we might have to look at that."
Stevens said the contingency budget for the project remains "quite healthy," and the school district has interior design options that allow for flexibility.
"We have a lot of trust in our team, Kraus-Anderson and LHB, and obviously they've done this probably a million times before," Stevens said.
Christina Kintop, vice president of the Superior School Board, also had confidence the project would move forward smoothly.
She said the Board has complete trust in Kraus-Anderson and LHB to provide sound advice and guidance as the SHS project nears its construction phase.
"It does seem almost surreal that we're to this point finally," Kintop said. "We started looking into this many years ago — into the financial aspect of it and looking at the grounds and what improvements need to be done.
"To be standing here today seems surreal. I got chills when I saw all the lovely construction fences the other day."
Kintop's daughter, Sophie, a junior, was among the students who took part in the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday. She and seven other students — two from each grade level — were chosen from among members of the student council.
Only set of the eight students, however, will have a chance to see the finished project.
"Our ninth-graders here will become the first students to actually be in the building in 2019 as the senior graduating class," Bergum said. "So they're here now seeing the groundbreaking and they'll be here when it's open."
Demolition work at SHS is scheduled to begin May 9 with the locker rooms.
"Being part of the conversations for the last year and a half and part of the process of what this thing is going to look like has been special," Bergum said. "It's going to be fun to see how it actually turns out."