School site will get more secure

Construction of the new Iola Elementary School is moving right along with glass and insulate panels to fully enclose the building. The site will be secured with fencing, gates and locks.

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May 13, 2022 - 2:54 PM

This view, looking north, is of the library of the new Iola Elementary School. Most of the glass has been installed and crews received insulated panels this week to protect mechanical equipment and allow the building to be fully enclosed. Then, it can be weatherized for finishing work such as flooring, Sheetrock and paint. The building is on track to open for the fall semester. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

Construction at the new elementary school is reaching a new phase — a more secure phase.

Fencing, gates and other security measures are being installed around the construction site. The building is nearly enclosed and finishing work is underway.

“There’s enough work being done inside the building that we’re going to be protecting it differently,” Dan Willis, USD 257 Board of Education president, told board members earlier this week.

A big milestone was reached Monday when the construction site received a shipment of insulated panels. The rest arrived later in the week. 

The insulated panels will protect mechanical equipment and are the final piece of the puzzle to fully enclose the building. Once it’s fully enclosed, the entire building can be weatherized and temperature controlled so crews can begin laying flooring, installing Sheetrock and painting. 

That work has begun in some parts of the building.

Most of the windows are already in place, except for in the commons room on the west side. 

Crews were expected to begin installing the gymnasium floor and should finish the kitchen area by the end of this month. Fire sprinklers were being installed in the cafeteria.

A fire inspector is scheduled to visit the building on July 5. If all goes well, the building is expected to be open for the first day of school on Aug. 17.

An open house is scheduled for Aug. 16.

A committee of elementary school faculty and staff are planning first-day activities, Lincoln Elementary School principal Andy Gottlob said. 

Construction at the elementary school site is moving right along and has reached the point where gates, fencing and locks are needed as a precautionary measure. Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

WILLIS also brought up a tornado that hit Andover, near Wichita, on April 29.

The town’s YMCA building took a direct hit, with 43 people sheltering inside. All walked out without injury.

Willis noted the companies that built the YMCA and its storm shelter, including architects SJCF and construction manager Coonrod & Associates, are the same firms that designed and are building the Iola Elementary School.

“It makes me feel very comfortable we’ve got the right people,” Willis said.

The front of the Iola Elementary School will feature floor-to-ceiling windows.Photo by Vickie Moss / Iola Register

DEMOLITION of the former science building and cafeteria is expected to begin June 1, after classes have dismissed for the year. 

Final dirt work at the new science building is starting, with the laying of grass seed. 

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