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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2005

Otsego: New building nearly set for inside work

Workers lay cinder blocks on Oct. 13 as they ready the inside the building for work in winter. Workers lay cinder blocks on Oct. 13 as they ready the inside the building for work in winter.

The new $15 million Otsego High School is nearly ready for winter work.

The building, under construction next to the current high school, is ahead of schedule, and the main part of the building will be finished in a few weeks so crews can work inside during the cold months, Superintendent Joe Long said.

"I think the building in a sense speaks for itself as you watch it go up," he said.

Brad Garmann of Garmann/Miller, the architect for the project, said that during the winter it may not look like much is going on at the school, but work will be progressing inside the building.

Work on the 92,000-square-foot building began June 6 and could be finished in the spring of 2007 instead of the fall.

"They have made a tremendous amount of progress," Mr. Garmann said.

Most of the outer walls and part of the roof deck are done, he said.

The district has spent $551,905 on renovations at its three elementary schools since the summer of 2004, treasurer Christine Ziegler said. That includes this summer's masonry restoration, repair, and cleaning.

The total amount budgeted for work at Haskins, Weston, and Grand Rapids elementaries is $1.5 million. Major work remains to be done on the heating systems at Haskins and Weston and on replacing windows at Haskins. That should be completed within nine months, Mr. Long said.

At the high school, the east exterior wall is finished, and masons are beginning the kitchen and music room wall. The auditorium wall probably will not be completed this winter, Mr. Long said.

Concrete floors for the north side locker rooms, the gym, and many of the classrooms have been poured. Mr. Long said the color of the art room floor has not yet been chosen.

Recent changes to the high school project include burying electric lines on the south edge of the property, instead of using poles. Mr. Long said that was requested by the utility company, and will be safer, look better, and be less prone to problems from storms.

Once the new school is com-pleted, the current high school will become a middle school for seventh and eighth graders, with a covered walkway connecting the buildings. That will improve conditions for the middle school students, Mr. Long said.

"It's that new building that's making that possible," he said.

High school students would move into the new building in January, 2007. Middle school students would move into the old high school in the fall.

The district would have the spring and the summer to paint and make other repairs to the high school. District officials do not have an estimate of the costs for work at the current school.

The current middle school could be sold or demolished, Ms. Ziegler said.

The district is paying for the projects with money from an $18.4 million bond issue passed in March, 2004.

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