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School board takes peek at new school

Echo Press photo by Celeste Beam Alexandria School District 206 board members toured the new Woodland Elementary School Monday night before their regular board meeting with members of the DLR Group, the architectural firm in charge of the project.

Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces are falling in place for Alexandria's new school - Woodland Elementary.

At Monday night's regular meeting, Alexandria School District 206 board members were given a tour of the nearly completed facility by Deb Metz and Troy Miller, both from DLR Group, the architectural firm in charge of the project.

The majority of the building is finished and is beginning to fill up with school supplies and furniture. A couple of weeks ago, the custodial staff from Washington Elementary School, which Woodland is replacing, hauled items over from Washington.

Bill Putnam, head custodian, noted the teachers boxed up their belongings and then the custodians loaded everything on pallets, into a 14-foot trailer and then over to the new school for unloading.

Metz and Miller made note to school board members that although many of the classrooms are completed and ready for school this fall, there is still plenty of unpacking to do.

During the tour, Miller talked about the flooring in the new school. Although carpeting can be found throughout the school, much of the flooring is polished concrete. Miller noted that this type of flooring - versus terrazzo - is literally maintenance free. It needs no waxing and only requires a "buffing" twice a year. Custodians also won't need to use chemicals or water on the floor to clean it, just a dry mop or broom, he said.

While touring the classrooms, Metz explained that each of the rooms is between 850 and 900 square feet. The new furniture, which includes desks and chairs, for the classrooms arrived and was already installed, Metz said.

After the tour was completed, Metz provided a more in-depth update of the new school project.

She explained that the state has given approval for the staff to occupy the new building and that the school district offices are now moved over and located on the second floor of the new school.

All classroom materials are moved from Washington and in addition, Early Childhood Family Education will be moving into the facility this week.

Metz noted that staff training has begun and that Woodland staff members received training for the fire alarm system, security system, operable partitions and most of the mechanical and electrical equipment.

As for work being done on the outside of the building, Metz told school board members that the planting of trees and shrubs on the property is essentially completed, and that top soil preparation and lawn seeding has begun.

Solar panels are in the process of being installed and traffic control signage and gates are also being put in place.

Next month, said Metz, Woodland staff cooks will be on hand to test out all the new equipment and make sure everything is ready to roll for the start of school in September.

Miller told school board members and administrators he is happy with how the project is going and how everything looks. He added that the project was actually two and a half months ahead of schedule and about $350,000 under budget, although not everything has been tallied yet. The cost of the project is an estimated $20.9 million.

At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Terry Quist reminded the school board of the upcoming open house for Woodland Elementary School, which has been set for Tuesday, August 25 from 4 to 8 p.m. More details will be forthcoming.