Little Falls School District renovations on track for start of school year

Staff Writer

Despite the hopes of some students, the renovations at schools across the Little Falls School District are expected to be at a point that will not postpone the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

The Little Falls School Board was updated Monday on the progress of the renovations paid for by the 2016 referendum.

The city and state approved allowing people to move into Lincoln Elementary, Tri-City Paving is still doing work on the south side of the building, and a few tweaks will need to be made, even as the school year begins, said Larry Filippi of Contegrity, the company managing the construction.

“Lincoln is ready. They’re (staff) moving in,” Filippi said.

At the Middle School, Filippi said the workers were hoping to finish the roof reinforcement and other work that shut down the area between the pool and commons early this week.

During September and October, the driveway at the front of the building will be redone, adding a lane of diagonal parking in addition to the driving and parking lanes already in place.

This will allow two lanes for people to drive in, and about an additional 20 parking spots.

At the parking lot between the middle school and Lindbergh Elementary, two lanes will exit onto Highway 27, one going left and one for right, with one of those also including those going straight, Filippi said.

While there will be an inconvenience for two weeks by giving the project more time to be completed, Filippi said it has a good impact on the project’s cost.

“You opted for two weeks of inconvenience to save in excess of $20,000,” Filippi said.

At Lindbergh Elementary, building officials came to see whether or not the building was fit for people to move in Friday. The results of the inspection were not available before deadline.

Last week, crews were working on finishing work, including getting flooring laid.

Even when school starts, work will continue in the maintenance rooms to fine tune HVAC systems and other equipment.

The situation is mostly the same at the Little Falls Community High School. State officials inspected the building Friday, Aug. 25.

Still, this is just to get the building ready to hold class when school starts Tuesday, Sept. 5.

More work will be done throughout the year on the addition to the high school.

“The end of the day Friday is when we can occupy (the building) short of the gymnasium locker room area and obviously all the parts that were under construction, which include the auditorium and basically up in that band room corridor,” Filippi said.

At the start of the school year, signs will be posted at the entrances to areas under construction telling people to stay out.

Board Chair Sharon Ballou said she wished she could see the faces of returning students when they see what’s happened at the high school.

“They’re going to need a map, because it is just like coming into a new building,” Ballou said.

Until the locker rooms are complete, the Little Falls football team has been using the Exchange Arena facilities to get ready for practice.

Supt. Steve Jones said security measures would be complete at Lindbergh and Lincoln by the beginning of the year, the high school’s would be complete when the renovations are finished, and the measures at the middle school and Dr. S. G. Knight Elementary in Randall will be done next summer.

Little Falls School Board Briefs

In other business Monday, the Little Falls School Board:

  • Approved updating a policy, that with permission from a parent or guardian, school officials can administer prescription medication to students with the exception of medical marijuana. The updates include removing redundant language that oral requests be submitted in writing within two days;
  • Approved increasing the amount budgeted in the 2017-2018 school year for debt service payments from $284,870 to $823,940. The money is available, and the increase is meant to correct a clerical error;
  • Approved a policy agreeing to federal grant requirements, which states what federal grant money can or can’t be used for, how the school needs to acquire items using federal grant dollars and more; and
  • Approved moving to the Little Falls Community Middle School’s Media Center, beginning at its Monday, Oct. 16 meeting at 5 p.m.

The next meeting of the Little Falls School Board is Monday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m. in the Morrison County Government Center.