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Dudley building project not done

The renovation of upper-level classes and the media center at Dudley Elementary will not be finished when school starts Aug. 18.

But superintendent Mike Teahon said administrators and staff have Plan B in place for the temporary relocation of grades four, five and six which involves about 200 students.

Fourth graders will be moved into the Community Building and classrooms set up in a health room, board room and multipurpose or wrestling room.

Fifth-grade sections will be bussed to and from the former 100R Attendance Center north of Gothenburg.

The center was closed in 2008 because of a dwindling student population.

The sixth grade will locate in classrooms in the north hallway and a computer lab. A nearby high school classroom, used for industrial technology, will also serve as a sixth-grade classroom.

More rearranging of other classrooms within Dudley Elementary is still possible, Teahon said Monday.

In early June, Paulsen Inc. of Cozad began remodeling fifth- and sixth-grade classroom pods and the media center to boost the number of classrooms from 10 to 12.

A conference room and four small testing areas that could be offices are included in the remodeling project as well as two bathrooms with five stalls each for boys and girls.

Although officials hope construction is completed by Sept. 1, Teahon said there is no guarantee. He noted that the project has been on schedule since it started with the best-case scenario to be finished by Aug. 18.

Once the project is finished, school officials must wait for the go-ahead from the state fire marshal before the rooms can be occupied.

“Any time you do a project in the summer, the schedule is going to be tight,” Teahon said.

Last year, workers poured cement sidewalks as teachers returned to work and sod was laid on the football field as players started conditioning for the season.

Relocating classrooms and students is nothing new for Dudley staff.

Teahon pointed to the downsizing of class sizes in October of 2007 that required juggling of classrooms.

Asbestos removal in the lower elementary transplanted students for a month in 2003.

“I’m confident our staff and students can thrive in any situation,” Teahon said. “I think this is a good temporary solution decided upon by teachers and administration.”

Teahon said they considered delaying the start of school until construction was finished but decided relocation was a better alternative.

At the former 100R Attendance Center two miles north of town, three classrooms and a lunch room will accommodate four sections of fifth graders, he said.

“We’ve maintained the building all along and have cleaned it and made sure all the phones work,” Teahon said.

The plan so far is to have fifth graders meet at the high school to be bussed to the former country school for morning classes.

They will be transported to the town campus for physical education, music and lunch before returning to 100R for the rest of the day.

Teahon said the construction project has challenged the custodial staff.

They have had to seal off existing classrooms from new construction dust and dirt, maneuvered around cabinets and other items in Dudley’s upper-grade hallway and have scrambled to get temporary classrooms ready for students.

The remodel project, Teahon said, will modernize a building constructed in the 1960s.

“Teachers are excited about projectors in the ceiling, wireless Internet and new lighting, cabinets and carpet,” he said, noting that two Smart boards will be installed in the expanded media center.

A Smart board is an interactive, electronic whiteboard.

He noted that the $730,000 renovation project, financed by special building and qualified capital improvement funds and $50,000 in stimulus money, is part of the district’s long-term capital improvement plan and has been in place for eight years.

“We want to get another 30 to 40 years out of all of our existing facilities,” Teahon said.

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