Update on School Construction Projects
By: Kate Baldwin, Executive Director of Admin Services
June 7, 2019
Norwalk’s New Elementary School- Orchard Hills: Exciting times at Norwalk Schools as we
watch the finishing touches being completed at Orchard Hills. The construction of this school
represents several years of planning, community involvement and enrollment growth as we look to the future. The District is privileged to have the strong support of parents and the community to make these projects happen.The weather during 2018-2019 has not always been favorable for construction. The severe cold temperatures, snow and rain were especially challenging for street and site construction. In spite of weather related challenges, contractors prevailed to complete the work on time. Story Construction, the District’s construction manager, has assured the Board the school will be available for staff to move in during mid-July. This five week time period between July 10th and August 23 rd is critical for staff to furnish and setup the new classrooms, kitchen, library, art & music, gym and administrative office. So much to do and so exciting. The District will be planning a community open house in September to showcase the new facility.
Reminder: School of Attendance Sites in 2019-2020: Orchard Hills Elementary will serve all students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade during the 2019-2020 school year, while Oviatt Elementary is being renovated. In the fall 2020, Orchard Hills will become the permanent attendance center for students in grades 2 and 3. In the fall of 2020 the Oviatt renovation will be completed and will become the permanent attendance center for students in Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st Grade.
Ovaitt Renovation Project: Once school was out, the Oviatt Renovation project got kicked off
to a running start on June 3rd. Staff is packing and moving out of Oviatt as contractors are
moving in to start demo to prepare for electrical, heating & cooling (HVAC) and technology (IT) improvements. The Oviatt building is a solid building, but the mechanical backbones of IT
needs updated to maintain efficient and reliable operations. The building lacks many of the core infrastructure electrical components to meet the needs of technology and support a student one-to-one computer program. In addition, the building needs a large kitchen and cafeteria to serve the total building student capacity of 750 students. Oviatt operated six lunch periods to accommodate the total number of students. The new kitchen and cafeteria will only require three lunch periods, similar to Lakewood. The Oviatt project also includes renovation of the music and art rooms to provide larger classrooms for these programs. The administrative offices will be related to the northwest corner of the building which will become the main entrance. This entrance has been designed to provide more security measures. The offices will better meet the needs of nursing, secretarial, guidance and principal functions. And last but not least, the southeast gravel parking lot will be paved.
Middle School Renovation Project: The renovation work in these two buildings keeps
marching on, slowly but certainly. Like all remodel jobs, the District has incurred additional
costs to accommodate or correct unforeseen conditions. All existing areas of the Middle School
(with the exception of the music and band rooms that were renovated in 2007) will receive new
carpeting, paint, windows and ceilings. In addition all mechanical and electrical systems will be
replaced to address obsolete wiring and heating & cooling equipment. The project includes
construction of two new career and technical education (CTE) classrooms to service consumer
science and STEM programs. The staff is especially excited to see these valuable programs have spaces designed to match new vocational instruction. The media center/library is being
renovated into a modern, more tech-friendly space. The nurse, secretary, guidance and
principals offices will be modeled to better serve students. The entrance will include new
security features. And last but not least, creating new corridors and bathrooms that are sized to
accommodate the number of students served at the Middle School.
All of these school improvements are possible with voter approval of a $32 M bond issue in
February 2017 and Iowa Sales Tax funding for schools.