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NR School Board tours progress at high school

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Although school board members have been keeping tabs on the progress at the new high school, some couldn't help but gasp at the changes that have been made since the last tour in March.

Eyes widened and jaws dropped as the school board walked through what will be the main entrance of the school.

"Isn't it just beautiful?" asked Marilyn Duerst, board member.

The school board toured the new school during the July 7 work session.

A curved main hallway will give students access to the main office, commons area and hallways to either end of the building.

"We're adding about 100,000 square feet with this facility," said Jeff Moberg, New Richmond High School principal.

Most of that additional space consists of the gymnasium, auditorium and commons area. The remaining square footage is new classrooms and passing room in the hallways.

"We're moving to a building designed to hold 1,200 compared to 600 at the current high school," Moberg said.

Two wings, "G" and "J," will house four locker bays and four clusters of classrooms. Each locker bay will hold 300 lockers, making it easier for teachers to supervise than long, narrow hallways.

"It looks really nice," said Chris Skoglund, board member.

Some people think it looks too nice, Moberg said.

"I hear a lot of people asking why it's so fancy," he said. "It's not."

Most of the build is made up of concrete and brick, Moberg said. The nicer finishes, such as the decorative finish on the lower part of the hallway walls, will save the school district money in the long run, Moberg said.

"We put the nicer finish on the lower six feet of the walls because that's where they'll see the most use and abuse," he said.

The nicer finish will keep the walls looking new for about 20 years, versus the five years that paint would last, he said.

"Painting isn't cheap. When we painted the cube a couple years ago at the high school it was $40,000," Moberg said.

Each end of the school houses state of the art facilities -- some in the arts and the other in athletics.

The visual and performing arts end of the build hosts recording facilities, practice rooms and a large auditorium. The art students will get several rooms, display cases and potters wheels.

The athletic facilities stand at the opposite end of the school. Those facilities include three regulation sized basketball courts; the middle court will be used during games with the other two courts covered by bleachers when they're extended.

"The gym will hold about 2,400 people," Moberg said.

As for the rest of the school, several classrooms are taking shape, along with the media center and courtyard areas.

The new school is scheduled to open for the 2010-11 school year. After that, New Richmond Middle School students will be shifted to the building at 920 Riley Ave.

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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