Kitchen final detail for renovations at Tonganoxie Elementary
A renovated Tonganoxie Elementary School won't be completely finished when students return for the 2007-08 school year next Wednesday.
But TES principal Tammie George said everything should be fully operational in the coming weeks.
"It actually seems like we won't have as many areas incomplete at the beginning of school as we once thought, so that is good news," George said.
Turner Construction, which also constructed the new Tonganoxie Middle School and renovated Tonganoxie High School in 2006, is in charge of the TES renovation. It is the final phase of a project made possible through a $25.3 million bond issue voters passed in November 2004.
"It's progressing about the way we thought it would," said Kris Roberts of Turner Construction. "We always knew the kitchen wasn't a strong possibility for the start of the school year."
Kitchen equipment won't be ready for operation for the start of school, so food either will be brought in from the district's other two kitchens or sack lunches, which don't require cooking, will be served.
George said the kitchen should be ready within a few days after school starts, but she suggested that parents check the district's Web site, www.tong464.k12.ks.us, for the daily menu, as it will be subject to change.
New tile in the cafeteria, or the south gymnasium, has been installed and will be available for the start of school for physical education classes and for lunch. But custodial staff will need to wax the floor at some point after school begins, George said, requiring some overtime work for the staff, likely on a weekend.
George praised the custodians for their work in the summer with the ongoing construction.
"I think our custodial staff has done an outstanding job working around construction to get this ready," George said.
Turner Construction also expanded the library as part of the construction, which is complete. However, orders for new bookshelves have been delayed. George said the library will be open, but there will be limited shelving until new shelves arrive.
Enrollment finished up Tuesday at TES, but parents enrolled students in a different area this year.
Renovations also included revamping administrative offices at the school's main entrance.
Although the offices will be ready to go for the start of school next week, they weren't operational for enrollment, which started Wednesday, Aug. 1.
Office staff has used Janet Falk's first-grade classroom in the school's south wing as a makeshift office.
George said students who have been to the school for enrollment have commented to George that they like her new office.
"This isn't the new office so don't get used to it," George said with a laugh, recalling what she's told students. "It's been kind of cute."
Although the actual front entrance to TES won't change, students and parents will notice substantial changes once they walk through the front doors. To the left of the front entrance, where the office and principal's office previously stood, now will be the counselor's office and an expanded nurse's room.
Areas to the right of the front entryway have been converted into principal and assistant principal offices, as well as the main office.
Previously, one could walk through two sets of doors and then check in at the office.
With the start of the new school year, visitors will enter the main doors and then enter the office before being cleared to enter the school itself. It's similar to the configuration that was built into the new middle school.
Out with the carpet
Carpet throughout the school has been pulled up and replaced with tile.
Walls have been painted to match the tile as well, which primarily is white with some tiles being assorted colors.
"It just seems much brighter," George said. "Prior to that, it just looked dark."
George said the tile also is easier to clean and maintain than the carpet.
"It's harder to treat," she said about the carpet.
According to Roberts, the entire renovation project, which carries about a $1 million price tag, should be finished Aug. 24, aside from what she called "punch-list items," or final touches to the project.
The elementary school renovation work started May 29.
"A renovation is always more challenging and more work, especially when you're working on an older building and you never know what's going to happen," Roberts said. "You just deal with what comes along."
New bus routes
When TMS opened at the start of the second semester in January, buses ran from the high school to the elementary school and then to the middle school.
That required several left-hand turns during the route.
Former transportation director Shari Curry, who retired at the end of the 2006-07 school year, suggested that the route be changed.
"It was Shari Curry's idea," George said. "She's always watching out for students and transportation glitches."
The school day for the elementary school will remain the same, 8:10 a.m.-3:10 p.m., but the high school and middle school will flip-flop. The middle school will begin at 7:55 a.m. and conclude at 2:55 p.m.; the high school will run from 8:10 a.m.-3:10 p.m.
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