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Southwestern School updates underway
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The roof is being replaced at the Southwestern Elementary/Middle School this summer as part of the Act 32 energy efficiency updates. - photo by Dena Harris

HAZEL GREEN—Construction is well underway at the Southwestern School District.

The school has a two-part project in the works this year. Energy efficiency updates will be made this summer at both buildings, but mostly at the elementary school, using funds secured through Act 32. This fall the renovation and addition projects at the high school associated with the recent referendum will begin.

Contractors have made progress on replacing the elementary school roof and replacing the ventilation system in each classroom.

“Every classroom is getting improvements,” Southwestern School Superintendent John Costello said. They will each have updates to lighting, ventilation and electricity. The classroom lights will all be on timers now.

A few walls have been modified in the elementary building as well. The doorway for one classroom was moved. A permanent wall replaced a moveable one separating two classrooms, giving those two rooms more electrical outlets and fewer distractions. The main entrance will look completely different by the end of summer after being completely reconfigured to create a more secure entrance and a vestibule to support energy efficiency.

Costello said some asbestos was discovered in the building and it has been taken care of. The school also conducted a mold test that came back negative. The school will have ventilation in the tunnels under the school to push the moisture out through a pipe to the roof.

“We’re hoping this will prevent the muskiness we experience in some of the classrooms,” Costello said.
He said he is working with the school principals to make sure they have everything ready before the beginning of the school year. Teachers will report by Aug. 25 and students will start classes on Sept. 1.

“I’m pleased with the progress so far,” Costello said. “There is still a lot of work to do. The goal is to have it done by Aug. 1 so we have time to clean up before the school year starts.”

Costello said Performance Services has made some change orders after finding items that don’t meet the original scope of the project. Those changes will not affect the amount the school pays for the project; it is covered within the original quote from Performance Services.

“We’ve been working closely with the village and John Berning has been great to work with,” Costello said. “Performance Services has been handling all of the bidding of the projects to line up the roofing company, electrical, plumbing, masonry and finishing of the project.”

At the high school, the bleachers have been removed and the gym is being painted. New bleachers should arrive next month to be installed.

The high school renovations are still being drawn up. Costello said some changes to the roof slope are being considered before the project is put out to bid this summer.

“We want to look at the long term picture and make sure we do it right this time so we aren’t fixing it later down the road,” Costello said.