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Work progressing at high school site

Jeff Moberg, high school principal, explains features to the New Richmond School Board during a tour of the new high school Feb. 3. Photo by Jackie Grumish

New Richmond School Board members toured the new high school Feb. 3 to see how construction is progressing.

Although much is unfinished, Jeff Moberg, high school principal, led the group though the construction site explaining where everyone was and what the building would look like. Board members were able to walk through the music rooms, art rooms, food services area, the courtyard area, future classrooms, loading docks and peek into the theater.

The new high school will offer much more space, Moberg said.

For example, the cafeteria area will seat 450 students, compared to the current school which seats only 150 and forces school officials to serve lunch in the hallway.

A courtyard with windows two stories high will draw natural light into the building and surrounding classrooms.

"It's beautiful. I love it," said Chris Skoglund, board member, as she walked through the site.

The southern most part of the building will house the visual and performing arts part of the school, Moberg said. The northern most part will house the gym and athletic facilities. Currently, the wrestling area can be viewed from the site.

Eventually the gym and arts area will be connected by classrooms and administrative offices.

Just inside the front doors, which will face west, will be the main office, nurse and counselors, he said.

Overall the building will be curved like a horseshoe, with the main entrance in the middle of the curve.

During the tour, the group was also able to see an example of the detailing on some of the concrete block in the hallway and the polished concrete floors.

"See this floor? See how it shines? That's what we wanted at the other school (Hillside Elementary)," said Marilyn Duerst, board member.

School administrators have been unhappy with the finished floors at Hillside Elementary.

After the tour of the high school, members stopped by Hillside to inspect the floors themselves.

"This is what the public complains or comments about," said Frank Norton, Hillside Elementary principal, as he pointed to a cloudy area in the floor.

The floors have all started to turn gray with some of the biggest problems being in the corners of classrooms and the edges of the hallways.

"They just look dirty," said Duerst. "That's what I thought when I saw them."

That's what a lot of people think when they see the floors, Norton said. The problem, he said, is that they're not dirty.

The company that poured the floors tried to fix the problem over winter break.

Crews redid the floors in four areas of the school but when school administrators saw the work, they decided it just wasn't up to their standards.

"It's better than it was before, but we knew you wouldn't be happy with it and didn't want to waste your time asking you to look at it," Morrie Veilleux, district administrator, told the board.

Now, the district needs to decide what to do about it, he said.

"We were under the impression that these floors would last for years and years, right?" asked Bryan Schafer, board member.

"Correct," answered Norton. "These should last forever."

Polished concrete floors are way some schools are trying to be more eco-friendly, according to www.con

Concrete floors don't cost much more than other flooring options and last longer than carpet or vinyl.

In addition to the life span, only soap and hot water is needed to clean the floors.

The floors are finished using a dry-shake color hardener which is incorporated into the surface shortly after the slab is poured. After the concrete cures, the surface is ground, buffed and polished to create a permanent shine.

The board will discuss its options and determine what the next step is in getting the floors fixed and up to its standards.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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