Middle school makeover taking shape

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Englewood Middle School is a major construction site inside and out, with crews working to make sure most of the major overhaul of the building will be completed when students return in early September.

Those on the June 14 tour of middle school facilities saw crews tear out remaining block walls as framework goes up for new walls in one hallway while, in another hallway, there are finished classrooms.

The work underway is the makeover of Englewood Middle School to eventually become the campus of Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School.  

However, Englewood Middle School students will be in the building until the new seventh- through 12th-grade campus at the Englewood High School site is completed by the 2014 holiday break.

When the students return from break in January 2015, the high school students and the middle school students will be in their new classrooms and the students attending Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School will report to classes at their new campus at 300 W. Chenango Ave.

To keep on schedule at the middle school, the pace of work is in high gear because crews have about two months to get the school ready for students.

“The work at the middle school is about 40 percent completed,” said Brian Ewert, school superintendent. “Plans are to have all the main floor work completed when students return in September. It is expected it will take about another 60 days to wrap up the work and have the construction crews moved out of the building.”

Construction at the middle school has been going on throughout the school year. For months, dust and construction sounds daily traveled through the building as crews worked in one portion of the building while classes went on in other areas of the facility.

“We are moving forward because all last school year the construction crews and the students and staff at the middle school cooperated, so a great deal of work was completed while classes were in session,” Ewert said. “All possible efforts are made to keep the dust and noise to a minimum but there still is dust and noise. The cooperation of a students, teachers and construction crews made it possible for the work to move along well.”

When Ewert, school officials and visitors toured the middle school June 14, they saw crews were ripping out a parking lot in order to create a new front entrance. Inside the building, the group visited one hallway that was lined with classrooms full of students a couple weeks ago that now was a long open area with lines of aluminum studs marking where the new walls would be built.

However, the tour also saw several completed areas, such as what will become science classrooms. In those rooms, the painting has been completed and cabinets have been mounted on the walls. A major addition to the science classrooms is the garage-type door in one wall that allows access to the outside area.

The cost of the middle school makeover is about $17 million. To cover the costs, the school district received a state grant for $8 million and the remainder is money from voter-approved bonds.

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