Soaring Heights Elementary School is a hot spot of activity this week as construction crews race to prepare the school for the first day of classes on Monday.
“We’re doing construction work while the faculty’s moving into their classrooms all at the same time, so it’s a madhouse,” said Mike Johnson, the Joplin School District’s director of construction.
Soaring Heights will open Monday, along with Irving Elementary School and East Middle School. Students and parents at the other two schools have already had a chance to tour their new buildings. A similar event for Soaring Heights students is set for Sunday.
Administrators have long cautioned that Soaring Heights would be the last of the three schools to be completed, and that its construction timeline would extend right up to the start of the spring 2014 semester.
Workers are pressing hard to install flooring and baseboard moldings, hang cabinetry and television monitors, put together the bookshelves for the media center, and finish installing the bleachers in the gymnasium, Johnson said.
They also are adding the final electric fixtures and heating and cooling vents, as well as cleaning up classrooms and wiping down the glass windows, he said.
Also still to be completed: mounting in front of the school the bell that for years had hung in front of the former Duquesne Elementary School.
Johnson hopes most of the construction crews will have moved out by the end of this week, leaving custodial crews to strip and wax the floors, and help faculty and staff members get their classrooms in order. The school is largely expected to be ready for students by Monday, he said.
“It’ll look, for the most part, complete,” he said. “There are some things that, for one reason or another, we just couldn’t get to, so there will be a few things here and there that aren’t quite done.”
Final punch list items will continue for a month or two after the start of classes, while landscaping will be the most noticeable incomplete item when school begins next week, Johnson said.
“This time of year, it’s just really hard to bank on the weather to be able to do that,” he said.
STUDENTS AND PARENTS at Soaring Heights Elementary School may tour the new building, 4594 E. 20th St., from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The 65,290-square-foot school will house pupils from Duenweg and Duquesne elementary schools.