The gymnasium at Hill View Elementary School last week was full of portable tool cabinets, building materials, and other trappings of construction.
Clocks throughout the building all read 12 o'clock at 10:30 a.m., and the loop outside where buses will drop off and pick up children was bare earth.
But three weeks from today, most of the $7.2 million building is scheduled to open to students.
All that construction stuff will have to be out of the gym, the bus loop and separate parent drop-off area will need to be finished, and surely the clocks will have to be hooked up. How else will the kids know when it's time for recess?
The new Hill View's opening will be a highlight of a districtwide construction campaign in Sylvania schools that involves nine of 12 buildings, including renovations at both high schools and construction of a new Maplewood Elementary that won't be finished until next year.
"It has been an all-hands-on-deck summer," Superintendent of Schools Brad Rieger said. "Construction crews, architects, custodians, maintenance workers, and technology staff have worked together to keep the projects moving forward and on schedule."
All elementary schools except Central have been involved with construction this summer, and district officials said they'll all be ready for classes Sept. 1.
Besides the new buildings at Hill View and Maplewood, classrooms and climate-control systems have been added to Stranahan, Highland, Sylvan, and Whiteford schools, plus new gyms at Sylvan and Stranahan.
Central has escaped construction this summer only because it is to be replaced by a new building, for which the district recently bought 40 acres at 8739 West Central Ave., and which is scheduled to open in two years.
McCord Junior High is receiving a new climate-control system, a new front entrance, and renovated offices and fine-arts classrooms. The district's two high schools are in the first summers of two-year projects to add or upgrade classrooms, renovate locker rooms, and replace hallway lockers. Southview's commons area will be overhauled and its heating and cooling replaced, while expansion of Northview's Little Theater is scheduled for completion Jan. 1.
Renovations at Arbor Hills and Timberstone junior high schools were completed last summer.
At Hill View, the school library, cafeteria, and administrative offices won't be ready when the rest of the new school opens. Completion to be scheduled there on Jan. 1 is a concession to the Hill View campus' limited space, which required those parts of the new school to be built on ground formerly occupied by the old building, torn down in early July.
"That'll be the easy part there," said Chad Harr, project superintendent for Midwest Contracting Inc. of Springfield Township, referring to work still to be done after school opens. "It's smaller, single-story, and we've got more time to finish it."
The big rush, Mr. Harr said, was building the corridor and renovating art and music classrooms near the gym - work that included installing new sprinklers and climate-control ductwork - between early June and late August, squeezing it in between school years.
The gym and adjoining classrooms were part of a 1997 addition to Hill View that was retained when the rest of the old school was replaced. Those classrooms, district spokesman Nancy Crandell said, likely will be the temporary quarters for the school office and library until the project's wintertime completion. Lunch will be eaten in the gym and served in the music room.
New Hill View will have two entrances - one for pupils arriving by bus, the other for private-vehicle drop-offs - each served by a separate driveway. Buses will come in via Davenport Road, while the car entrance will be on Whiteford Road.
The start of work last October on the new classrooms - three for each of six grades, plus special education rooms and ancillary space - deprived Hill View's pupils of most of their playground for the last school year.
The same has occurred at Maplewood, where construction began this past spring after the old Burnham Building was torn down. The new Maplewood will occupy the former Burnham site and the adjoining playground, with a new playground to be built on the property's back.