Jan. 9, 2008
Duluth red plan school construction begins
in the spring
By Sarah Horner
The countdown to construction on Duluth public
schools’ long-range facilities plan has officially begun.
The district released a design and construction
schedule Tuesday that includes everything from school closure dates
to building dates to transition plans for students during renovations.
Construction will kick off on Lakewood and Stowe
elementary schools late this spring, with the bulk of projects scheduled
to begin between 2009 and 2011.
All new schools will be ready to open by either
fall 2011 or fall 2012, said Dave Karhonen, solutions project executive
for Johnson Controls. Johnson Controls is the consulting firm leading
the district through the long-range project known as the red plan.
Several schools will be closed, including Nettleton
and Piedmont elementary schools in summer 2010, and Lincoln Park,
Morgan Park, Woodland, Rockridge and Lester Park in summer 2011.
Central High School, scheduled to close under the plan, still is
being considered as a site for the western middle school.
“We will be working on projects that will
reach a level of activity that has not happened in the school district
in a long time,” Lieder said. “People will finally know
when they will feel the impact of the long-range plan.”
Criteria created by district staff and community
members guided the timeline’s development, Karhonen said.
To ensure the least effect on students’ education, for example,
much of the construction will take place during the summer; students
and staff at most schools will have to move only once during the
transition from old to new buildings.
In addition, the construction schedule was staggered
to keep work local.
“You start by digging a foundation for most
projects, and there is a specific area of trade that does that,”
Lieder said. “If we started all of the projects at the same
time, we wouldn’t have enough people in our area to get the
Eight to 10 schedules were created before the
development team selected the one presented Tuesday. The Duluth
School Board reviewed details Tuesday night.
“There can be no perfect plan for this sort
of thing,” Lieder said. “In order to do this kind of
construction and effect this kind of change, there has to be some
impact on students, neighbors and families. I believe the ultimate
result is going to be worth whatever impact there is.”
Community members will be invited to participate
in pieces of the design phase as specific projects emerge, said
Katie Kaufman, public relations director for the district.