There were 13 construction workers still working hard in the Beaver Dam High School field house on Friday night putting the final touches on the five-station gymnasium.
“The senior basketball players were in here today,” Principal Crystal Bates said. “They were the first kids in here.”
The rest of the student body will be able to see it on Tuesday when the second semester begins in the physical education classes. Students do not have school on Monday.
Beaver Dam Unified School District Superintendent Mark DiStefano said that construction will continue throughout the weekend in order to open not only the field house, but also some new learning areas in the building.
“A lot still have to come together,” DiStefano said.
Voters approved a referendum in November of 2016 that provides $48.9 million in improvements in the school district, including remodeling most of the high school, except the science rooms, which were remodeled in 2013.
At the high school, DiStefano said crews are about 10 to 12 percent done in the remodeling of the 1958 building. However, many of the spaces still need finishing details.
“In the summer, we will be finishing all the spaces,” said Michael Dietrich, CG Schmidt senior project manager.
Bates said many of the spaces are not going to be used for their final purpose right now, but they will allow for construction to continue in the building. An English class will be in the family and consumer education classroom. A math classroom will be working in the health classroom. Although one new business classroom will have a business class move into it, the business lab will have a technical education class in it for now.
Bates said everyone at the high school has worked well together to adapt to space challenges since the beginning of the project, and there has been incredible community support.
“We asked if anyone could help us out and MEC said that they’d gladly do whatever they could,” Bates said. Students are taken by bus there to learn about welding.
The new rooms feature windows that let others see the activities in the classrooms.
The culinary arts room will not be done until late January or early February, but will teach the students about the food industry.
“When they come in, they will be chefs,” Bates said.
Maintenance areas have also been upgraded and will allow for the school to condition the air in the school year round, while actually decreasing costs.
The new main entrance and commons areas for the school are not yet completed. DiStefano said the area is where people will travel through to get to the field house. The field house will host its first athletic event Thursday night, when the Beaver Dam girls basketball tema hosts Baraboo for a Badger North Conference game.
The field house has a 200-meter running track, which is mostly covered by the bleachers when they’re pulled out. When completely finished, seating capacity will be 3,500; DiStefano said there will be room for 2,000 spectators when it opens.
Partitions are in place to create smaller areas in the field house when the entire space is not needed.
DiStefano said they are working on ideas to make the track available for the community.
“The community really supported this,” DiStefano aid.
Although it isn’t close to being finished, Bates said you can already feel the excitement from the new look of the school.
“It will be exciting to walk into this grand facility and see the BD logo in the floor as you walk into the field house,” Bates said.
The commons area will be used for the lunch area for the students, but will also be able to be used in many different ways with a variety of seating that can be moved around easily.
Several fitness areas are already taking shape and there are a lot of storage spaces and improved bathrooms and locker rooms already completed.
Progress means some goodbyes though. DiStefano said the Golden Beavers boys basketball game vs. Menasha on Tuesday night will be the last game to be played in the south gym, the original gym in the building. CG Schmidt will then begin work on making the gym into a tech education area.
All work is scheduled to be completed by August 2018.