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Finishing touches applied to NRMS

New Richmond Middle School is a hub of activity as teachers and staff work to ready the "new" school for fall classes.

The building's interior work - including a large project that remodeled the school's offices, commons and kitchen areas - has been finished since mid-May, said Principal Doug Hatch of the building on Riley Avenue.

"We had that completed before Summer Stretch," he said.

Other work, such as new landscaping and concrete work at the school's entrance, was finished in early July.

School officials have yet to do a final walk through of the building - something that's required before the space can be officially deemed "done."

"It probably would've been turned over to us already if it hadn't been for the down time," Hatch said.

On July 7, the school's electrical transformer caught fire causing the school to lose power for 10 days.

The power loss meant the school was without lights, phones, fire alarms, etc., Hatch said.

"We had to evacuate the building at that time," he said.

Although it put organizational efforts behind a bit, it's nothing the staff is worried about.

"They're anxious to get in here," he said. "I get emails every day asking when they can come and finish up."

Other small details need to be finished before Jump Start begins in August.

For example, the newly remodeled bathrooms are missing toilet paper dispensers, paper towel dispensers and soap dispensers.

"We expect those to arrive next week," Hatch said on Monday.

The kitchen staff is still working to get equipment organized, the gym's floor will be refinished next week and the school's playground equipment will likely be installed in mid-September.

"I'd like to have that done before school starts, but it's really going to depend on the company," Hatch said. "It'll more likely be mid-September when that happens."

Hatch said several area residents - including many high school students - have stopped by to see the renovations.

"The high school kids especially are interested in knowing what we've done," he said.

The public will have an opportunity to see the changes on Aug. 31, when the school hosts an open house and dedication ceremony. Students and parents will be invited to see the space from 4-6 p.m. The dedication ceremony and public open house will begin at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the open house, sixth grade and new student orientation will be from Aug. 16-18.

"The kids are excited beyond belief," Hatch said. "There is a little bit of anxiety with the sixth grade about getting from the sixth grade wing to their encore classes, but we had that at the other school as well."

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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